Learning spaces: Santa Maria College’s new ‘village’ learning centre

Santa Maria's new year 7 & 8 Learning Centre design. Image: supplied

Santa Maria's new year 7 & 8 Learning Centre design. Image: supplied

Future year 7 and 8 students at Northcote’s popular Santa Maria College can look forward to a new “village” learning centre opening in 2019.

The new centre has been designed by specialist education designers Law Architects to develop students’ sense of belonging and connection as well as enhancing the contemporary teaching and learning style of the Catholic girls’ college. It also supports the International Baccalaureate middle years program offered to Santa Maria students in years 7 to 10.

Santa Maria introduced a new structure last year with one community and three villages for years 7 and 8, 9 and 10, and 11 and 12. Three leaders responsible for student learning, wellbeing and faith are based together in each village, working with students for two years.

College principal Deborah Barker says the new centre will help create a seamless faith, wellbeing and learning environment for students.

“Our mantra is one community, three villages. We get to know each student and her story very well – how she learns, what helps her flourish as a person and how we work in partnership with her family.”

Law Architects has designed the new two-level year 7 and 8 centre by rethinking and extending an existing building. Each level has a collection of contemporary learning and breakout spaces surrounding a central garden atrium.

Natural light will wash through the centre with expanses of windows and internal glass walls to the central atrium.

A pair of learning spaces on each level opens up to create larger spaces for collaborative learning and student inquiry. Each level also includes an amphitheatre, and breakout spaces to promote teamwork and enhance social engagement.

The centre’s curved front facade is fully glazed with an eye-catching decorative metal screen in sage green and copper tones to control light and heat while maintaining views across northeast Melbourne to the Dandenong Ranges.

What the students say

 

Image: supplied

Image: supplied

Santa Maria’s 900-plus students have embraced the new village structure, which was introduced to help them live out the college motto of “Dare to do as much as you are able”. Reflecting on the new structure, one student said, “I really like the way the village offers me a sense of connection with my teachers and a feeling of belonging to a smaller group of girls within the larger Santa Maria community”.

Santa Maria College \ 50 Separation St, Northcote ● 9488 1600 ● santamaria.vic.edu.au

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