Elevated in a natural bushland setting, with large windows and natural timber finishes that give the space the feel of a treehouse, the new Hivve at Barrenjoey Montessori School is now buzzing with activity. This thoughtfully-designed, light-filled classroom has all the elements needed to optimise learning, including an outside deck that gives students ready access to nature, a key aspect of the Montessori approach.

Choosing a prefabricated, flexible Hivve classroom allowed the School to overcome a number of challenges. Increasing enrolments meant there was a need for additional classroom space without compromising outdoor learning and play areas. There were also significant constraints: a small site footprint, the need for all buildings to be bushfire and flood zone compliant, plus the demolition of an old existing structure could only occur during the school holidays to avoid major disruptions to learning.

The Hivve has been seamlessly integrated with the existing Peter Stutchbury designed main building, creating a flow between buildings and across floor levels via an atrium area that also provides additional break-out space.

New decks have created outdoor learning areas and provide easy access to and from play grounds.

“We’re really pleased with the end result,” said David Wrench, Executive Director of Hivve Sustainable Schools. “The new building not only provides more indoor space, it helps bring the whole site together.”

The Hivve contains bathrooms for students, as well as a fully integrated kitchen in order to support a Montessori ethos that puts an emphasis on practical life activities, including food preparation.

“We’re thrilled with our new Hivve. Not only has it given us a beautiful new learning space, the design has provided a strong connection to nature which we believe is crucial for children’s academic, social, physical and emotional development,” said Fiona Campbell, Principal at Barrenjoey Montessori School.

“The Hivve provides a flexible learning space that allows children to work at their own pace in stimulating internal and external deck environments.”

“The students are delighted with their new learning space and on entry the sense of purpose and peacefulness is immediately obvious. Many of the 6 – 9 year old students have come to me to acknowledge their appreciation of the space.”

The Hivve comes equipped with Hivve iQ via an in-classroom dashboard, allowing teachers to monitor inside and outdoor temperature, air quality and energy use.

The Hivve was delivered to site midway through December 2018 and on-site works were completed during January, with the building ready for start of Term 1.