Early Years at Clougher Valley Community Center
Early Years is the largest national child care and out-of-school-time organization in Northern Ireland. studioMLA worked with Early Years to design a community and early education center that will serve as a model for the quality of educational spaces in the country and develop cross-community cooperation. The importance of bringing communities together cannot be underestimated, even 20 years after the three-decades-long conflict in Northern Ireland commonly known as “The Troubles.” While integrated education is expanding, the education system is highly segregated. Early education is the only part of the national educational landscape that is effectively not single-identity.
studioMLA has collaborated with Early Years to create a series of model children’s environments that integrate all of the best values of early education curriculum in Northern Ireland, including a strong influence from Reggio Emilia. The project will also provide a carefully designed suite of community spaces that encourage shared programming. The Center engages with the history of the site and intentionally showcases the historic architecture at its center. It integrates the indoors and outdoors and includes extensive outdoor spaces for play, gardening, and community use.