East Dunbartonshire Early Years / by Craig Heap

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Planning Applications registered for 3 new centres

Holmes Miller, working in partnership with East Dunbartonshire Council and hubWest Scotland, has submitted planning applications for 3 new early years facilities, within Bearsden, Milngavie and Kirkintilloch, which truly embrace the opportunity to provide the optimum setting for pre-school children.

Founded on the Scottish Government’s ‘Space to Grow’ document, which encourages strong links with outdoor learning, and the creation of buildings that encourage self-development, self-confidence and promote exploration and discovery, these new facilities eschew the notion of a traditional playroom, and offer a dynamic educational setting for infants.

Whilst fully aligning with the space standards depicted by the Care Inspectorate, the indoor spaces are complemented with an extensive, multi levelled and sheltered courtyard space, that offers a seamless transition from indoor, to outdoors, and ensures children can enjoy an open and natural setting throughout the calendar year. Discovery is encouraged through provision of ramps and slides, that allows pupils to access a first floor terrace and experience the playspaces from above, whilst a ground level courtyard finished with a variety of textures, surfaces and materials creates a canvas for learning and creativity.

The approach endorsed by East Dunbartonshire Council in commissioning these buildings, truly places the pupil experience at the forefront, with a conscious effort made to reduce the area assigned to ancillary spaces and servicing, to maximise the investment for the benefit of learning. The result is a solution that reduces internal spaces where practicable, to allow a 200% increase in the amount of covered playspace that can be offered for children.

Each site, whilst utilising a similar building design solution, marries to suit the context and mature landscape setting available in each location. External spaces will not be overly designed, but will offer staff and pupils the opportunity to craft their own pre-school setting, with natural features, opportunities for water play and construction activities all encouraged without being over-thought or predetermined.

We are incredibly excited to see these projects develop towards the final solution, and submission of the planning applications forms a significant milestone in making these highly innovative buildings a reality.