The Physical space
We have started to think about the physical space of the pre-school (3 to 6 year olds). Phil and I sat down and considered what was important…
- A central space – a space that can be shared by staff, children and parents – an area for welcoming and departing – a space where parents can connect with staff, say goodbye to their child without feeling rushed
- Classrooms – flexible spaces, with for example, areas for fantasy play, group meetings, a shop, construction, a mini-studio, rest – with easy access to the outdoors
- Outdoor space – a flexible space with play structures, an area for play performances and creativity, picnic areas – we see this as just as important for learning and development as the classrooms
- Studio / workshop – an inside space for creativity, research and discovery
In terms of the overall design, we want there to be a feeling of space. Space has always been important to Soul Action; space to listen to people, space to hear from God, space to connect and learn from one another. So this is no different – there needs to be space that is flexible, space for creativity, space for children to learn and develop, space where children can connect with God, space which maximises the potential of light. Within this interconnectedness is a factor, so areas are visible, the design facilitating interaction between children.
Due to the importance of space I did some reading with the aim of finding out what is recommended in regards to a physical space. Tanner (2001) highlights that a design needs to make use of natural light and that outdoor learning areas should be next to classrooms. When thinking about the amount of space, White and Stoecklin (2003) recommend 5m squared per child, with a justification that ‘adequate space…promotes the development of positive interactions between children.’
So from what we consider important and what the research says we have developed some concepts of what the pre-school building may look like.
Phil and I have quite different ideas on design, with my thoughts being on much more of a functional level. Maybe you can spot whose is whose!