ED lab INC
Robin Randall

Seton Montessori Elementary
School Master Plan and Addition

“Child Centered Living Laboratory”

Architect: FGM Architects
Senior Designer, Project Manager: Robin Randall
Photography: TBD
Client: Seton Montessori

Completed in 2011
Science of Learning:
Montessori curriculum delivery methods inspire a child centered master planning process that includes three workshops with students, parents and staff. Hands on learning through building blocks, puzzle pieces, and models informs the kit of parts solution. The master plan includes a large motor skills room doubling as conference space for teacher training. Funding for the first phase includes a secured vestibule, kitchen, classroom space and a living laboratory generously supported by a group of Seton families.

Language of Nature:
The living laboratory includes a sunlit greenhouse with a half story over look which also provides access to the green roof garden. Students participate in research to identify animals, fish and reptiles suitable for habitation in the living laboratory. Food for the inhabitants will be grown and harvested in the interactive laboratory. Nature is an integral part to the Montessori education and exterior gardens and play spaces are designed to inspire spontaneous learning. This project was designed to LEED silver standards.

Art of Innovation:
The ceiling of the main classroom space slopes to a two story height with operable clerestory windows used for natural ventilation. The sloped roof extends to the west to create a porch wide enough for outdoor group learning. Artist crafted steel hands connect the porch columns to the wood beams. Radiant heated floors provide a comfortable environment for student project based learning. Site planning includes permeable pavers and bioswales with native plantings to filter storm water detention.

"Robin Randall helped us in the planning and design of our new Elementary Building for our long-standing Montessori school, which serves as a Lab School for a Montessori Teacher Certification Program. She began by listening to our vision and learning about our alternative educational approach. Next she and her team led each constituency from our community - children, parents and teachers - through an incredible dreaming and creating process to enumerate the various "must have" and "would love to have" features of our new school building. Finally, Robin created a design that not only provided almost everything from our dreamed lists, but also held true to our educational philosophy and our goals of creating an environmentally friendly building space that matched our other buildings in look and aesthetic but raised the bar significantly. We loved the experience and have no hesitation to strongly recommend Robin's services to other educational and public organizations!"

- Anna Perry, Ed.M. Executive Director, Seton Montessori Institute and Schools.