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design for childcare

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Understanding the pedagogy of care
Many of our recent projects include the provision of a hierarchy of flexible and open student teaching and study spaces that encourage interactive and co-operative learning.Our award winning Learning Centre for the Monte Sant’ Angelo College was designed to incorporate the requirements of recent changes in pedagogy.Over recent years it has been recognised that the care of infants and toddlers is very specialised, in childcare there has been a move away from institutionised care routines to a response given to meet individual infant cues.

Today childcare is seen as being educational and involving social enrichment rather than the traditional view of ‘child minding’. There has been a move away from the old rigid expectations of children’s obedience and conformity to rules which were created for the purpose of managing large groups of children.Today the child is viewed as a competent learner from birth and eager to express his or her own desires. There is now a curriculum for early learning of infants and toddlers. When a curriculum is in place a pedagogy is essential for its interpretation and implementation.

The Pedagogy incorporates caring and learning with consideration of theoretical, ethical and philosophical aspects of teaching. This pedagogy places distinct requirements on the design of the physical environment provided to support it. Our design team, through their experience with teaching and learning facilities for infants, and toddlers through to university students has a strong understanding of the design imperatives for modern childcare facilities.

design of childcare centres
The design and construction of a licensed public Child Care Centre requires a strong understanding of the current regulatory and licensing requirements for the design and operation of the centre, and a program for implementation of assessments and certifications prior to the opening of the centre.The regulatory environment of Early Childhood Care and Learning Centres is evolving and the users of the centre are highly sensitive to the issues of compliance and safety.

There are a number of non-regulatory bodies that promote design recommendations and it is important to determine which, if any of these are to be considered for adoption in the design and operation of the centre.The process of licensing requires achievement of a number of certification milestones which include both design certifications across the design disciplines as well as centre management and operational commitments from the owners and operators of the centre. All participants should be aware of their responsibilities  for providing certifications and the process of achieving licensing of the centre. No one body will provide certification of the centre.We have developed an understanding of the regulatory requirements for the Childcare Centre and can provide Process Management strategies to assist you in achieving a smooth licensing process. 

Design Quality
The childcare marketplace includes a large number of commercial centres that are located in environments which are not optimum for very young children, including some in high rise and other multi-storey environments. The requirements for parent parking and drop off, secure access to the centre and extensive, protected play areas are a challenge in a dense environment. The public image of a single level domestic scale building in a parkland setting is not always achievable where high demand centres are required.Public Childcare centres can achieve a high level of design and environmental quality with careful consideration of the design solutions that work in a multi storey environment. The Wellbank Children’s Centre is located as part of a 3 storey public building including the Concord Library. Issues of overlooking, shading, parent drop off and parking were all successfully addressed.

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