The Pines and Hut Alley
We often describe Preshil as a backyard for our children.
Tucked in the north-western corner of our Arlington campus are The Pines and Hut Alley. A responsive and evolving space, this area is currently home to our "Frog Bog", bush school and Hut Alley.
This is a space where children use real tools and work materials to build huts, shops, homes and rooms; it's a space where we can light fires and cook meals; we can observe ecosystems, climb trees, create gardens and go exploring.
Observations from the children of their experiences of The Pines and Hut Alley are many and varied, read some below...
"The Pines are my favourite place at Arlington because we get to play in the water and eat toasted marshmallows which are my favourite"
"I love The Pines and climbing trees"
"My classroom is special because we have a door that leads straight to The Pines"
The Kevin Borland Hall
When the hall was being built, the children demanded that it be made in a star shape, and that the stage have a secret trapdoor.
Home to many special Preshil memories, it is where music lessons take place, whole school singing is enjoyed, exhibitions are displayed, and where families gather to share some Preshil magic.
The hall is a favourite place for many Preshil students, read on for some of their reflections...
"My favourite space at Arlington is the Hall, because of the musical instruments and the open space."
"The Hall is my favourite because of the instruments and that's where Choir and Strings and Things are."
The Treehouse Art Rooms
Perched in the centre of the Football Field, the Treehouse art spaces look over much of the school. The airy, welcoming rooms are complemented by a pottery kiln and 3D printer (in the Maker Space).
"I love the Treehouse because it has a lot of supplies to make art and you can see other kids' work"
"My favourite space is the art room because it’s so colourful"
The Sun Room, 8s & 9s (Grades 3 & 4)
With its orientation to the glorious northern winter sun, the extensive windows in this building, combined with its pitched northern cathedral roof, leave us with little doubt as to why this space is known as The Sun Room.
The aesthetics of the space are so important to how we feel upon entering the room. The natural timbers of the ceiling, combined with the somewhat antique, but charming kitchen/dining tables, as well as the plush red velvet of The Queen’s couch (the Meeting Place in this room), makes the Sun Room feel more like a warm and inviting community building; something you might stumble upon whilst exploring some small country town on a weekend getaway.
The southern wall is mostly glass and helps create a connection to the Kindergarten. At times, the children invent games or interactions with the Littlies from the Kindergarten as they sit in the Bay window, building that sense of community, as well as memories, come the day that that the Littlies become Sun Roomers and no doubt complete the cycle.
The Queen’s Couch is a unique piece of furniture in the Sun Room. Its curved design lends beautifully to group discussion; an important and daily occurrence. With ample floor space, the children can work on various investigations, creations, constructions and inquiries either sitting, crouching, kneeling, lying down. Alternatively the large timber tables enable the children to draw, draft, paint and express all manner of ideas and thinking.
The Peppercorns, 10s & 11s (Years 5 & 6)
Peppercorn Place is the home of our oldest primary school students. A space designed with inquiry, personal development, social relationships and curiosity in mind. Along with its kitchen and ample indoor learning areas, the students find themselves further enjoying its outdoor spaces, equipped with couches and tables.
It is lovely hearing what makes the classroom special for both students and their teachers..
"The light that comes through the space and that we can see the gardens through the glass."
"The little break out areas and the natural material in here blends with the outside so it is nice and soft."
"And the kitchen. It creates that homely shared community feel, and responsible use in the kids. I often say "one day you're going to live in a share house...""
"My favourite space is the lounge outside our classroom"
Our Kindergarten is an extension of home and encompasses nature and an environment for exploration and curiosity. Our indoor and outdoor spaces are connected visually and physically and allow our children to learn and observe the world around us. The Kindergarten is directly behind the primary school classrooms and children of all ages can see through windows and connect to the learning and experiences of our kindergarten children.
The indoor spaces flow with vistas to the outdoors and children are encouraged to inquire and explore the many planned and enticing provocations set up daily. There are spaces physically and emotionally for children to create, to relax, to explore, to interact and to develop as learners. The environment supports the building of relationships for all in our community. Children are supported to learn about the world around them, and their own identities. At Kindergarten, we respect children’s individual strengths and interests, and nurture these through carefully designed experiences and meaningful relationships with others.
The Arlington library is filled with natural light, streaming through the large windows near the ceiling and through the surrounding windows on all sides of the building. The windows that welcome the natural light also give you a good sense of the school, with a treetop view and can a look over the kindergarten area and the Lighthouse play space. The library is also a great place to be in the cold autumn and winter months, sunbathing and reading books in a well heated space.
The top level has two self checkout systems and an office. It also boasts a large seating area with four large tables with enough seats to seat up to 25 students, equipped with a whiteboard this area is utilised for classes that are taken in the library. The non-fiction section is also on this level making it easy to do research during the class sessions.
The fiction section is on the lower level. This has many beanbags, ottomans and cushions available to comfortably seat a whole class. There are also three desktop computers on this level to allow for research when required in the library. There are many books on display and display wall spaces that are constantly being used to display the students work or advertise resources or events happening in the library.
The library is a warm and inviting space where all students are welcome.
Formerly the home of Margaret Lyttle and now the home of our Arlington Kindergarten and Primary campus administration offices, Arlington house is the hub of our school.
The cosy sitting room is a favourite among staff and students alike, treasured for its cheery fireplace and many memories made sitting reading, playmaking and sharing in conversation.
We welcome parents to spend time at Arlington house, to use the kitchen to make a cuppa at pick-up time, to spend time getting to know our reception staff and to continue building this wonderful community.
The Lighthouse, 5s (Prep)
Originally opened in 1964, the architecturally and historically sensitive rebuild of the Fives classroom was completed in 2019 and was undertaken with the objective of preserving all original features of the space, while bringing it fully in line with the expectations of classrooms delivering a modern education.
With windows designed at ‘five-year-old height’, the classroom looks out across the front garden of the school. The lighthouse is a light, welcoming and engaging space, with a kitchen, breakout spaces, deck, playground, vegetable gardens and numerous ‘hidey-holes’.
The Loft Room, 6s & 7s (Grades 1 & 2)
The Loft Room replaced the demountable classroom brought over from England called the "Hawksley".
There is a plaque on the wall of the classroom which reads "In Memory of the children of Britain victims of war 1939-1945" The plaque was created by Andor Meszaros, whose son Michael was a student of Preshil. If you look up Andor, he's quite the artist, as is Michael. A few years ago Michael came to talk with the children about the plaque, and he gave it a bit of a polish as well.
The loft is as it sounds. It is light, airy and truly designed with the children in mind. Musings from the teachers on their space capture its character...
"The shape of the loft room is fabulous, we are very lucky we have three separate unique spaces."
"Architecturally the loft is beautiful and if I lived there I would love it."
"The kitchen is fantastic. We also have a deck area; the kids can work out there and it's effectively part of the classroom."
The Front Garden
Blackhall Kalimna Secondary Campus
The Kalimna building has recently been updated and is now the hub of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, catering to Year 11 and 12 students. Housing the Senior Student Common Room, the space fosters healthy social interactions, comfort and connectedness within our community.
The space is flexible, it facilitates dynamic learning experiences, campfire storytelling, one-to-one conferencing and student teams in project-based learning. Spaces are available for the senior students to use as a study environment as well.
Within this beautiful heritage mansion we see a juxtaposition of the old and new; progressive learning spaces in gorgeous buildings.
The music area is a flexible and inviting space for students to delight in collaborative, creative and therapeutic musical exploration.
The space is light and bold, with walls decorated with student art, including the celebrated Ted Griffiths, and plays host to a symphony of ensembles, individual instrumental instruction and lunchtime jamming
Film & Media - Arts
Lights! Camera! Action! The Film and Media Room combines literally old school charm (the school building dates from 1934) and a contemporary suite of digital filmmaking technology. This space is divided into two joined areas. The first is an editing room fully equipped with iMac computers loaded with professional video editing software. The second is the cinema room equipped with an immersive cinema screen and furnished with comfy couches and bean bags. The cinema also transforms into a lighting and sound studio for broadcast quality video production. In the The Film and Media Room have access to a wide range of filmmaking equipment including current 4k Mirrorless Digital Cameras, Full HD Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) Cameras, a range of autofocus and manual focus cinema lenses, microphones, boom poles, steady cams, dolly’s, tripods, studio lights, foley station and more to enable outstanding creative film productions to be made.
The beating heart of the school; the library is filled with stories, knowledge and wonder. Whether privately studying, chilling or playing a game of chess with friends, students and teachers are welcome to bask in the sometimes tranquil, and sometimes wild energy of this special space.
The library is an inclusive and open community area that often miraculously transforms into a lecture hall, a meeting room, a theatre space, a museum, an exhibition space and sometimes even a 5 star restaurant.
Our fabulous theatre performance hub and space for private music sessions (there is a piano), professional theatre performances and outside of school drama classes (through the company Drama with a Difference). Year 7-12 have showcases here of work they are doing in class and our Year 12 students perform all major work here for parents and audiences of their choice.
As per its name, the space is entirely black with tiered seating for around 30-40 people. There are professional lights though the only ones available for school usage are the ‘trees’/ free standing lights on either side of the audience area.
The irony of its name as the ‘cage’ comes from it’s literal physical form (a big sports court enclosure, purely to stop balls flying into the nearby buildings of our intimate campus space), yet the philosophy of this multi-use arena is about as far from the concept of trapping freedom or lacking spirit as you could get. Our logo motif (bird) and ethos ‘courage’ is actually hand-woven with string into the fence.
It is overlooked by a painted mural from the most recent graduating class and is neighboured by a sports shed world of equipment from traditional sports, recreational games, outdoor education/first aid, fitness tools, aquatic, adaptive/sensory and aesthetic movement materials.
It is not just used for physical & health education, electives, extracurricular activities. With its various sporting boundary lines, nets & worn-with-love soccer goals, this space is so special because without trying, it so powerfully brings students of all ages together - to congregate, enjoy ‘unstructured’ and self-umpired game play and form unique bonds across different year groups, just as they would in the playground during their early childhood days. It is always filled with students & teachers alike and echoed by laughter -before/after school, during snack and lunch time- proving the gravitational feeling of ‘home’ that it emulates for many.