Paper presented at the London International Conference on Education, 19-22 November 2012, London, UK
Well-designed environments that stimulate intellectual curiosity, encourage social interaction and promote a sense of community, support effective learning across the education spectrum. This paper presents a case study of a multi-functional facility situated at the University of Wollongong in New South Wales, Australia that meets this design brief. 'Early Start' will transform teaching, research and community engagement in the higher education sector whilst offering unique learning opportunities to children, young people and their families. Importantly, it also has the potential for addressing social, educational and economic disadvantage across many communities. The Early Start Facility incorporates state-of-the-art technologies in a purpose-built structure that includes a Children's Discovery Centre and connections to early childhood services, schools and community agencies in regional, rural and remote communities. This facility will enrich the student experience at the University of Wollongong and it will extend collaborative educational enterprises to children, their families and the broader community.