As I was walking around our new Girls’ School at Shore Road during a recent visit, I paused to admire the magnitude of this magnificent, purposefully built school that will be buzzing with activity and filled with our girls’ chatter and laughter in just a couple of weeks.
From where I was standing, I had an expansive view of the multi-level library which is the school’s architectural centerpiece spanning three floors, expounding our deep focus on learning as the foundation which this new school is built. From ground up, the Junior School’s Book Nook houses a large reading area adjacent to the social stairs connecting to the next level, the Middle School where the main issue desk for the library is based has more areas for independent study and outdoor learning spaces, and on the highest Senior School floor, the Atrium boasts a dedicated research and study area for Senior Girls.
The intricate details that have gone into the design of the school reminded me of the journey we started four years ago. We brought together our girls, staff and the community to envisage the school of our dreams, how we wanted it to look, and what is optimal for our girls’ learning now and for the future. Many aspects were discussed, from the architectural design, the boutique nature of the school, and new possibilities of teaching.
Our girls described that they wanted our new school to feel and encapsulate:
Knowledge, Laughter, Anticipation, Ideas, Open Arms, Feel, Nice, Values, Emotion, Delight, Exciting
They also described what makes a girls’ school a girls’ school:
A place where you can be yourself and feel comfortable in the environment.
We have come a long way from the time the Trust Board announced that the Girls’ School would be relocated on the Shore Road campus in 2018 as part of the Saint Kentigern’s building Master Plan. From what I see, our new Girls’ School is set to exceed all our expectations with a design that mirrors our collective aspirations for the school and the needs of a future-focussed girls’ education. It truly embodies the safe and nurturing space that will enable our girls to be the best they can be and support their ongoing academic and co-curricular success.
I am confident that you will be as impressed as I am with the design that eschews traditional introverted spaces in favour of vast features that encourage connectedness, paving the way for students and staff to work collaboratively and share experiences. Glass panels subtly divide classrooms and large atrium stairs connect different levels enabling our girls to see other year levels, complemented by plenty of communal spaces that encourage dynamic social activity and informal learning.
Our Year 0/1 classes have their own outdoor play area, flowing from the classrooms and includes a design studio where the girls can be involved in creative activities and construction across all curriculum areas. These detailed features that are built into the design of the building speaks to the school’s focus on learning as a collective community.
As you can imagine, we have been extremely busy in Term 1 preparing for our move in a couple of weeks. In spite of this, our teachers have worked hard to ensure learning continues for our girls in another challenging term where we have had to deal with the rise of Omicron in the community, ours included. We were fortunate to be able to carry out most of the activities and events planned including our Year 5, 6 and 7 camps and swimming sports.
Significant time has also been invested to prepare for our move to the new school, ensuring the uninterrupted running of the school, such as the timetables for shared facilities and traffic control. These are well under control for seamless continuity of learning for our girls from Day 1 at the new school.
We are extremely pleased with the progress we have made – both in terms of building development and school preparedness – for the new Girls’ School. Plans are underway for us to take our girls for a familiarisation visit in the first couple of weeks of Term 2 and an Open School for families on Sunday 15 May.
We can’t wait to show our students and families our amazing new Girls’ School and for our girls to move in and make use of the facility from 8 June.
Fides Servanda Est
Ms Juliet Small
Girls’ School Principal