Since 1997, SHP has been helping Seven Hills shape the evolution of their learning environments, beginning with a master plan and including multiple buildings on two campuses. The latest product of this fruitful collaboration is the 19,000 s.f. Nellie Leaman Taft Early Childhood Center which offers high-quality child-centered learning for Kindergarten, Pre-K, “Beginnings” and Toddlers.
- The Early Childhood Center utilizes the same blended pedagogical strategy of Reggio and Montessori influences used on its sister campuses, and serves as an entrance point for a lifelong learning relationship between the school, its students and their families.
- The Center is organized around a central “Family Room,” a sky-lit, innovative learning and performing arts space that doubles as a library and eat-in-kitchen forming the heart of the school community.
- Opportunities for outdoor gross motor activity and learning surround the school, with structured play intermingled with more natural materials and land forms encouraging imaginative play, and are complemented indoors by a bright, day-lit large muscle room.
- Classrooms are defined spatially by changes in ceiling heights and materials with “service” areas (cubbies, restrooms, hand wash, etc.) concentrated at the entrance to free up large flexible learning spaces with vaulted ceilings and lots of natural light.