BIRDHOUSE MONTESSORI SCHOOL
A bright, child-scale design approach for a Montessori Center in West Vancouver.
The optimal Montessori environment involves core principles of order, respect, and freedom. The environment is designed to support deep learning, focused social development, and vibrant communities of practice that foster concentration, collaboration, and community.
We were able to meet all the needs of the space while staying within a tight budget. More importantly, the space was designed from the perspective of the end-users - that is, the children.
The goal throughout the project was to maintain a sense of simplicity and uncluttered appearance while integrating educational zones where children can study, play and store all items. The main challenge was a limitation of space and achieving the required changes with a limited budget.
We achieved the goal of creating unity and cohesion by opting for a white color scheme, and instead of building partitions for different activities, we used bookshelves as both functional pieces to transform and create separation between spaces. As a result, the interior remained open, spacious, playful, and dynamic, with the capacity to promote inclusion and diversity. The predominantly white environment seemed like a perfect choice as it is considered a powerful color in feng shui that entices harmony and enhances concentration. By making the necessary changes, we achieved a much-needed environment allowing free movement and interactions among children and teachers and encouraging them to discover and collaborate.
The created space now benefits from plenty of natural light and a close connection between indoors and outdoors. This was a very beneficial achievement as it coincides with the Montessori ideas. It also gives the children more opportunity to interact and acknowledge the outside space helping promote their attention and situational awareness.
There is a fundamental motto in Montessori philosophy which is "Help me to help myself," which we took as our point of departure for the design development. Therefore, all the small tables and chairs can be easily moved and grouped by the children themselves to stimulate their creativity.
We paid great attention to the economic and environmental aspects, so all the furniture was mostly pre-loved or sourced from Ikea and economic brands.
Overall, the Montessori Center project was a striking success as the implemented modifications brought the much-needed change. Most importantly, the children reacted positively to the new alterations. We believe the new environment will benefit their learning journey in many ways. Creating additional storage and a sense of unity between spaces is fundamental in providing the learners with opportunities to socialize and collaborate better. Finally, the center's aesthetic is now pleasing, radiating with order, organization, and calmness.
We developed a logo, branding, and interior for this Montessori school. The two main elements of the brand are green color and birds. The idea behind the bird element is that like a bird in flight, a child's potential can soar with the help of a Montessori education.The color green represents Montessori education as a tree. The roots, which support the tree and keep it strong and steady, are concentration, coordination, order, and independence. As these are the basis of the environment, a child needs to work towards developing this strong basis to progress through the curriculum.