The school covers 2.6 hectares in area just off State Highway 75 in the southwest of Christchurch City. The school first opened in 1864 and has been completely rebuilt following the 2010 Christchurch earthquake.
The “new” MLE / ILE Halswell School, that opened in June 2015, was designed to support the evolving twenty first century pedagogies that are inherent in the New Zealand Curriculum, to reflect the importance that the Halswell community places on education, and to provide a facility that the whole community can use.
A key design focus is the development of learning spaces and specialist facilities that reflect current educational approaches to learning and teaching through the provision of adaptable and flexible learning areas that support the school’s vision. The new school enables both teachers and children to achieve our ACTIVE learning vision, and in doing so, to become reflective, open-minded, communicative, creative, cooperative and inquisitive learners.
The school is comprised of five Learning Centres (teaching and learning spaces), each with a similar layout, an indoor stadium, a performing arts suite , a library and an administration / reception building.
The new facilities enhance opportunities for all of our children to learn collaboratively. Large multipurpose areas / messy play areas are integrated into the learning spaces to support art/science and technology activities. These can be separated when necessary by large sound proof glass sliding doors. Other separate small rooms can be used as quiet spaces for group work and individual learning, or to contain the sound of a group working on a presentation or enjoying lively debate. All teaching areas are acoustically designed to eliminate noise transfer. Breakout spaces have a high level of noise containment with easy visibility into these spaces through glass that allow children to learn as self-directed independent learners. A school-wide sound field in each block helps ensure all teachers are able to communicate with learners needed for a tutorial.
The layout of the buildings provide sheltered outdoor learning areas and allow a seamless blending of indoor/outdoor learning.