The Académie des Sacrés-Coeurs is a private elementary preschool located at the foot of Mont-Saint-Bruno in Quebec.
The essence of the project to redevelop the kindergarten classes and its adjacent corridor is designed around three major challenges: responding to a problem of lack of space, improving the sections allocated to learning activities, and improving the feeling of well-being and belonging.
Beneficing of an exceptional environmental framework, it was agreed to bring nature as much as possible inside the school to create new possibilities for games and amusement in the classrooms, making them flexible to the needs of teaching and entertainment.
Inspired by the concept of treehouses, each room has been completely redesigned to add, amongst other things, a wooden house elevated on two floors. This new exploration module is the starting point for the creation of unique and stimulating playful universes and allows the group to be divided into several simultaneous activities. Quieter and more set back, the upper floor is now a privileged space for reading and contemplation purposes. Freed from fixed central furniture, the rooms are ventilated and facilitate different teaching configurations.
In addition to maximizing the storage of teaching and leisure accessories, the furniture at the periphery of the classes also provides other functions. The sections reserved for books and for individual compartments in large cupboards favour the autonomy of children, while the large doors which decorate their façade serve as writable boards, both for children and teachers. The custom-made benches are ideal to ensure children have contact with the outside world and give them rest time, as well as being additional surfaces for children to play or interact in small groups.
Small alcoves in the shape of little houses have been set up along the entire length of the corridor to extend teaching beyond the classroom. They encourage reading and writing and evoke at the same time the pleasant aesthetics of the countryside dotted with distant houses.
An easily identifiable room identification system for toddlers is established by assigning a separate colour and animal to each class. The applied colours to the walls suggest mountains and the emblematic animals were chosen from amongst those found in the wildlife surrounding Mont-Saint-Bruno.
In addition to responding to the various functionality issues, the whole project satisfies the desire to make the experience the most enjoyable and enriching space possible. As a result, the layout is fun, appealing, practical and innovative for the young preschool students clientele.