(EMAILWIRE.COM, September 11, 2016 ) Jackson, MS -- St. Andrew's Episcopal School has opened new facilities that are just the first component of the school's $32 million capital campaign.
The new Early childhood center for St. Andrew's youngest learners opened with a blessing and ribbon-cutting on August 14, just in time for the start of school two days later. The Center includes 25,000 square feet of new construction and 17,000 square feet of renovated space. Overall
St. Andrew's - Jackson, MS - Pre-K through Grade 12
Early Childhood Center - Leadership Dinner
Each of the rooms is bathed in sunlight that highlights the various learning stations, cabbies, and lofts. "We wanted our early childhood learners to feel at home in their environment," says Head of Lower School Tim Alford. "This is a building that is meant to spark joy and we feel like we have done a great job in achieving a healthy balance between a place of comfort and a place of learning."
The center includes 14 new classrooms, new rooms dedicated to the co-curricular subjects, a large multi-purpose room that can accommodate an entire grade, and a new suite for the office of admissions.
"This is a fun space that encourages kids to discover and to fall in love with learning:" Says Head of Early Childhood Zakaria Sherbiny. "Everything has been thought through by our teachers, and they worked very closely with our architect to design these fabulous spaces. We have learned through research that early childhood is when the foundation is laid for learning for the rest of your life."
Architect Tim Geddie of Dean and Dean Associates of Jackson spent two years working with St. Andrew's early childhood teachers to create the ideal environment for St. Andrew's students.
"We sat in all the classrooms and really found out what the teachers and students need and what they didn't have, and we figured out the best ways to advance and support their needs, Geddie says: "These buildings were totally driven by the St. Andrew's teachers."
Alford said everything in the Early Childhood Center is now intentional. "We had hour-long conversations about the proper height of the sinks," he said. "We have really tried to design our Early Childhood Center around and from the perspective of our youngest students. It exists solely for their benefit. Practical elements like increased space and more storage will impact our students in real ways, but this Center matters for a lot more than the practical reasons."
"Early childhood should be about creativity and joy," Alford continues. "We believe that collaboration and listening are skills for tomorrow's economy. We have shared hallways for thematic units, shared porches, shared multi-purpose rooms. We want students to be interacting with each other in many different contexts as often as possible.
"We want to foster creativity. The touches of whimsy like the Lego wall, the fact that the students access the playground on slides, and the classroom lofts - these are types of creativity that we want to honor and cultivate in our students. The exterior classrooms have windows that would be impossible for me to look through. If we are stressing to our students that a person is a person no matter how small, to quote Dr. Seuss, what better way to symbolize that than to make the windows their size? Above all else we want to open our students up, literally and figuratively, to the wonders of the world."
Jacksonian David Pharr said he is really happy for St. Andrew's, the neighborhood of Fondren, and for Jackson, but he is most excited for his kindergartner, Elle.
"Everything was planned with the kids in mind," Pharr said. "It really advances her educational environment."
The Early Childhood Center is just one component of the first stage of the three-staged Forward Saints capital campaign that totals more than $32 million in projects benefiting St. Andrew's.
Stage one also includes another project on the Fondren campus. The space that was formerly used by pre-K3 and pre-K4 has been re-imagined as The Discovery Center, where 1st through 4th grade teachers combine technology, science, library, and maker space into a platform for seamless, multi-disciplinary, experiential learning.
The school is also building a 65,000 square foot athletic center on the North Campus in Ridgeland that is currently under construction and will be completed in late spring 2017. The center will be home to three regulation basketball courts, a sky wall, a multi-purpose court, a dance studio, an athletic hall of fame, a spirit shop, and a media room where teams can review game film.
About St. Andrew's Episcopal School 65296:
About St. Andrew's Episcopal School:
Founded in 1947, St. Andrew's Episcopal School is an independent, coeducational, college preparatory day school serving over 1,100 students in pre-K through grade 12 on two campuses. St. Andrew's is nationally ranked and recognized for academic excellence while cultivating the critical thinking skills needed to excel. Valuing diversity, St. Andrew's welcomes students of any race, color, religion, nationality, or ethnic origin. Typically, 100 percent of St. Andrew's graduates attend four-year colleges and universities. For more information about St. Andrew's, visit http://www.gosaints.org/.
St. Andrew's Episcopal School 65296
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