Early Learning Center

Building Curiosity, Connection and Community

In September 2023, Blake will open a state-of-the-art Early Learning Center (ELC), the first of its kind in the Twin Cities. Conceived specifically for learners in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade, the ELC will offer a child-centered program in a green facility designed to spark curiosity, joy and growth.

The Foundation: Love of Learning

North view renderings of Early Childhood Learning Center

Early Learning Center view from the north. Conceptual rendering from HGA (does not include outdoor play structures or landscaping).

The ELC experience will lay the foundation for the remarkable journey that is a Blake education. Understanding children as inquisitive, intelligent, creative and capable, Blake’s Reggio-inspired early childhood program teaches students to investigate, inquire and make connections in the world around them.

The Design: Spacious & Intimate

East view renderings of Early Childhood Learning Center

Early Learning Center view from the east. Conceptual rendering from HGA (does not include outdoor play structures or landscaping).

Young students learn best in an environment designed for them. Blake is partnering with HGA to design a facility that connects the indoors and outdoors and incorporates the wooded area of campus. The ELC will be green certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

Nestled into a hillside at the top of a winding drive, the building’s three floors, one for each grade, are elevated at half-levels:

  • Field Level
  • Forest Level
  • Treetop Level

Common spaces on each floor create a sense of belonging and community. The ELC is scaled to be both spacious and intimate with gathering places, play areas and reading nooks. Blake’s early childhood educators will use the building itself as a teaching tool.

Early Learning Center southeast view

Early Learning Center view from the southeast.

Other design highlights include:

  • Natural play structures
  • Outdoor adventure zones
  • Spacious common areas for dining
  • Learning kitchen
  • Library
  • Art studio
  • Movement studio
  • Music studio
  • Strings studio

The ELC will have access to the campus’s playing fields, ice arena and swimming pool. With proximity to the Upper Elementary (grades 2-5) and Middle School, ELC learners will have the opportunity to be mentored by older students.

Unified Lower School

Lower School students in class

The ELC is part of a larger project that brings all Lower School students, teachers and families together on Blake’s campus in Hopkins beginning in fall 2023. The ELC will house students in Pre-kindergarten to first grade, and a reimagined Upper Elementary space in the current Lower School building will house students in grades 2-5.

A unified Lower School creates connections among students and families. It supports collaboration among educators. And it provides students with campus familiarity as they transition to Middle School.

Lower School

Grade Level

Number of
Classrooms

Students per
Classroom

Teachers per
classroom
Early Learning
Center (ELC)

 

Pre-kindergarten 3 15 2
Kindergarten 3 20 2
First grade 3 20 2
Upper Elementary
(UE)
Second grade 3 21 1.5
Third grade 3 21 1.5
Fourth grade 4 21 1.5
Fifth grade 4 21 1.5