Malvern College Pre-school is ready to open its doors to Hong Kong’s youngest students in August.
The Olympic-based campus is now completed following a complete renovation. It has been planned along the lines of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) programme where children learn from a structured free-play programme. The campus design also reflects the Reggio Emilia education philosophy which views the environment as the “third teacher”.
“It was an exciting brief,” commented lead architect Billy Tam of Thomas Chow Architects. Asked to create an open, bright environment while maintaining safety, Tam has come up with a set of multi-functional spaces that flow into one another. “There is no definition of a ‘classroom’. At one time a space can be a playground, while at other times it may be a reading corner,” he explained.
The school is filled with enticing-looking activities, including a giant sandpit, interactive digital whiteboards in the older years’ pods and plenty of equipment to encourage imaginative play.
“Maximum exposure of different senses and stimulations are crucial for the development of a young child,” explained founding principal Jacqueline McNalty. “We have incorporated many elements of nature into the campus, bringing the outdoors inside.”
As part of the curriculum, each class will enjoy a once-a-fortnight excursion to the school’s two “Forest School” locations in Sai Kung. Out in the fresh air, pre-schoolers will be encouraged to interact with nature in beach and wooded-settings.
The pre-school will open its doors at the end of August for an orientation week, although McNalty is keen to emphasise that the orientation is flexible and will segue into “proper” pre-school days only when children are comfortable. The school is aiming for an August 2018 opening.