G8 Education opens flagship Brighton Centre with next generation approach
Early childhood education and care (ECEC) provider, G8 Education, has this week opened its newest flagship childcare centre in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton, boasting a professional chef, coding for children and ample parking.
The Learning Sanctuary Brighton is “the culmination of many years of experience in the sector, drawing on the knowledge of leading early childhood educators, architects and designers,” a spokesperson said.
The 170-place centre is located near Brighton Beach and neighbouring schools, with a basement car park designed to alleviate a noted pain point for parents – the difficulty in finding parking for drop-offs and pick-ups. An internal elevator and stairway will provide access to the centre from the basement.
Chef Mario Pompilio, with extensive experience in restaurants in Italy, Broadbeach and Southbank, as well as his own Café D’Uomo in the Block Arcade, will be preparing fresh restaurant-quality meals every day with a focus on locally sourced produce.
Older children attending the centre will be taught the fundamentals of coding, learn additional languages and benefit from a comprehensive learning through play curriculum, a statement released by G8 said.
CEO Gary Carroll held up the centre as an indicator that G8 Education was determined to “offer the best quality early childhood learning and care in Australia”. Mr Carroll said the “brand new, state of the art centre” was a source of pride for him, and for the company.
“From the architecture and landscaping to the quality of the curriculum and care, our educators have worked with the design and construction teams to create a physical environment that supports the wellbeing of children and staff and enhances learning opportunities.”
“We are one of Australia’s largest providers of early education and care and The Learning Sanctuary at Brighton delivers the quality that will underpin our future growth,” Mr Carroll said.
During 2018 and 2019, G8 Education, which operates around 500 early childhood learning centres across Australia, has been undertaking a $35 million refurbishment and upgrades of its portfolio.
The architect responsible for The Learning Sanctuary Brighton, Hilbrand de Smit of Perkins Architects, said that with a brief to design a flagship centre showcasing state-of-the-art environment and educational practices and resources, he had scope to design a building that exceeds the norm. “With that freedom we’ve been able to focus not just on functionality but how pleasant the spaces can be,” said Mr de Smit.
Mr de Smit described the foyer as “very generous and flooded with light from windows above”. The two-level building is built predominantly of brick and timber. “We wanted to reference houses because there is a familiarity about that which parents and children want,” said Mr de Smit. “It is not an institution but a second home.”
“All the spaces are connected, flowing into one another, and rather than having rooms behind closed doors they are visible. Parents can see who is taking responsibility for their children. The other thing that lifts this centre is the outdoor spaces, not only the details of them but also the volume of the spaces themselves.”
Sustainability was an important design factor. Rooms are all oriented north and north-east and naturally ventilated while solar panels on the rooftop help to power the centre and feed back to the grid. Toilets have grey water flushing and rain water will be harvested to irrigate the extensive landscaping and kitchen garden. Low-VOC plywood and paint have been used to improve internal air quality.
Centre Manager Ashlee Daldy said she has “hand-picked a team of educators and teachers with the skills and passion to match the start of the art centre,” describing the months long process of tweaking programs, menus and establishing contact with neighbouring schools and the local community.
Ms Daldy described the community focus of the centre, outlining relationships with local schools and local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups, ensuring children will have Elders involved in regular activities.
Excursions and outings to Brighton Beach for Beach Kinder, play-based learning activities including music, dance and garden play, and a dedicated art room and sensory room also feature prominently in the promotion of the centre.
State-of-the-art technology has been incorporated into the design and build, and includes learning touch tables, Bee-Bots and Primo Cubetto Coding blocks which teach the fundamentals of logic and coding.
Children from the age of six weeks up until school age are accommodated at the centre, which is open from 7am to 6:30pm. For further information, please visit https://www.thelearningsanctuary.com.au/centres/childcare-brighton/