National Catholic Education Commission
This week, St Mary MacKillop Catholic Primary School, Bannockburn was among six Catholic school winners in the recent 15th Learning Environments Awards (Victoria/Tasmania), which are held each year to showcase best practice in learning environment design and architecture.
The awards showcased many great examples of recently completed new and renovated facilities predominantly schools but also university, early childhood and landscapes for learning. This year saw the majority of winning awards going to Catholic schools demonstrating excellence in design.
St Mary MacKillop’s won the Landscaping / Outdoor Learning Area category with principal Anthony Drill saying the new design is the result of many master-planning workshops involving school stakeholders, the parish and local community.
“We remodelled the school’s entry to create a welcoming space. In a sense we ‘gave’ the land around the school’s entry to the community so that families, parishioners and local groups could sit and take a rest in landscaped gardens if they wanted,” Anthony said.
The fresh and inclusive look continues into the school’s heart, where three new outside learning environments take pride of place where students have equitable access to landscaped and distinct play areas, and are able to safely explore and learn outside.
“We have a play philosophy and we encourage our students to be in the natural environment so, instead of having a plastic and steel prefabricated playground, we have gardens and natural spaces for the children to dig, build and climb,” he said.
“Watching the children play and create in these areas is wonderful – the design has exceeded our expectations!”
• St Anne's College Kialla – Winner, New Educational Facility
• St Paul's College, Balwyn – Winner, Renovation / Modernisation Over $5M
• Mount St Joseph Girls' College – Commendation, Renovation / Modernisation Over $5M
• St Bernadette's Catholic Primary School – Winner, Renovation / Modernisation under $5M
• St Dominic's Catholic Primary School - Winner, Buildings or Renovation / Modernisation Under $2M
• St Mary MacKillop Catholic Primary School, Bannockburn – Winner, Landscaping / Outdoor Learning Area