Mahlum designed the Edwin Pratt Early Learning Center, which brings together three remote school district pre-school programs in a single, centrally located, blended facility. The programs include a tuition-based pre-school, Head Start, and the Early Childhood Education program that serves students with developmental disabilities. The facility is designed to address the unique needs of the early learner with a focus on improving lives of preschoolers of all abilities through individualized, purposeful, play-based activities. In partnership with families, the Early Childhood team fosters growth in all areas of a child’s development.
The building form is a result of an emphasis on creating small communities within the larger school environment while providing opportunities for children, staff and parents to come together as a single group. The population of 450 children is broken down into four distinct learning clusters of six classrooms, each with a dedicated gross motor activity area and staff and student support spaces. The outdoor program includes a dedicated outdoor learning space for each pair of classrooms that highlights a natural and imaginative play experience. Additional play areas dotting the perimeter of the site are linked by a series of on-site trails and provide further options for large motor development as well as prospective views over the surrounding neighborhood.
CBS Evening News featured the heartwarming story behind the naming of the new Edwin Pratt Early Learning Center.