- Feb 20, 2017 Montessori: Education for Peace Feb 20, 2017
- Jan 19, 2017 Freedom Within Limits: The Structure of a Montessori Learning Environment Jan 19, 2017
Because the physical environment plays such a critical role in The Suzuki School's approach to early childhood learning, our facilities have been conceived and created - from architectural design through construction - to be one of the key components in the educational process.
An array of colors, shapes, lighting, forms, textures, designs and plant and animal life were created and selected to provide a nurturing setting that stimulates each child's imagination and sense of responsibility to others and inspires confidence in him.
The common spaces are scattered with bold splashes of bright primary colors to intrigue the children and warmly welcome them into an exciting and fascinating experience, while soft warm colors in the classrooms provide a serene environment in which they can focus and learn.
Design As Art
A carefully designed network of artwork and design techniques were incorporated throughout the facility to fascinate, delight, and appeal to the curiosity of children. The hallways feature curves, sensory panels, art, floating mobiles, and inspirational music. The front entrance includes a metal sculpture of a rocking bird; a fountain provides the sound and sight of falling water; a garden bursting with plants and flowers adds color, texture, and scent.
Nature plays a special role in the school’s teaching and learning process. The lobby area boasts a variety of animal life ranging from fish and birds to reptiles. Highlights include a 1,000-fallon saltwater aquarium and an aviary with Gouldian finches. A reptarium with water dragons and reptiles enables the children to closely observe and try to locate the animals as they blend in with their natural surroundings.
Music is a critical part of the school’s heritage and continues to enjoy an essential role in the curriculum due to its connection with Dr. Suzuki, the founder of the Suzuki method of violin. The school’s integrated music system broadcasts selected ranges of music in common areas throughout the day. In the morning, the music selection is serene and inviting, while the afternoon hours offers more upbeat styles. In addition, there is a dedicated music room for group and individual music instruction in both piano and violin.
Sensory Panels and Displays
Sensory panels are located on hallway walls so the children can touch and physically experience different materials, forms, and textures. A wide variety of displays mounted at child height levels (such as rocks of North America, fossils, feathers, wood) provide educational opportunities for the children and stimulate their sense of wonder
Classrooms are three to four times larger than a traditional primary classroom to allow movement and flexibility. Using motorized screens, which have been emblazoned with stimulating art, the rooms can be quickly reconfigured as instructional needs dictate. In addition, the rooms are designed so the children themselves can easily configure and organize them when appropriate.
Classroom Viewing Areas
Viewing areas with one-way, floor-to-ceiling mirrors are located outside each classroom so that parents can observe the children in classroom activities. The one-way glass prevents the children from being distracted by seeing their parents and provides them with a giant mirror in the classroom which may also be used in various lessons.
Outdoor Exercise and Play Area
Every inch of outdoor space was efficiently utilized to provide efficient play and exercise venues for the children. We designed the playgrounds at both schools to promote play and exploration.
Indoor Exercise/Play/Instructional Area
Each school has a large movement room for indoor movement activities as well as for enrichment activities (ranging from ballet and gymnastics to sports classes). This room is also used for individual and group music instruction.
There are several extensive resource libraries at both schools which are stocked with a wide variety of books, films, and media for students and staff. The library also includes a wide variety of learning materials that are made available to teachers on a rotating basis throughout the year.
To assist in the teaching of practical skills and responsibilities, each classroom is equipped with plates, cutlery, and dishwashers, offering a family-style approach to meal time. Each school is also equipped with a cutting-edge commercial kitchen and three full-time staff chefs who prepare nutritional meals and snacks for the children. Organic foods are offered, instilling in children an appreciation for good, healthy food. Our chefs have “serve-safe” certifications.
Security is taken very seriously at The Suzuki School. Cameras monitor the exterior and interior of the buildings, and controlled access is a feature at all entry/exit points in the facility. Teachers and staff are consistently trained in various security measures.