CHAPTER 3: ADULTS AND CHILDREN IN THE CENTER
available to them in an environment which is safe, durable, and interest-
3.3.6 School-Age Children:
ing without overstimulating the children.
School-age children come to the center for before/after-school care and,
holiday and summer programs. Their needs differ from pre-school children,
These children arrive at the classroom with their parents and, after storing
and the area of the center devoted to them should reflect those differences,
their outdoor clothing and personal items (perhaps using a satchel or
including the need for separate male and female toilet facilities.
backpack), they begin their day in the center. The pre-school classroom
needs large, bright, unrestricted spaces, as well as intimate, quiet areas
This group can have as many as 20 to 24 children with 2 teachers. Their
with soft materials.
classroom, and ideally even its entrance, should be somewhat apart from
the other classrooms. The area should include appropriately scaled
Pre-school children usually need a nap or quiet time. This normally occurs
furnishings and equipment, and a slightly more sophisticated "clubhouse"
in the classroom space on cots or mats that are stored when not in use.
Mealtime is an opportunity for social interaction as the children and their
teachers gather around tables in the classroom to eat snacks and lunch.
School-age children spend their time in the center involved in developmentally
appropriate activities. They may eat or snack, do homework, enjoy audiovisual
Children at this age are actively exploring their environment; exercising
entertainment, play games, and participate in active games and outdoor
large muscle skills by running, jumping, galloping, riding wheeled toys, and
sports. Children coming to the center from a full-day school program need
playing various ball games. The pre-school classroom requires a large
space that is homelike and comfortable, that provides areas for both quiet
amount of architecturally unrestricted available space which teachers and
activities and more active play.
children can divide into smaller learning environments. The number of
children in the group and the type of activities in which they are involved
After-school programs require a separate classroom, but not one necessarily
impact this space requirement. Because they have typically become more
contiguous with the rest of the center. Summer programs for school-age
independent, they tend to initiate their own activity by accessing appropriate
children may utilize a flexible area within the center, such as the multiple
materials and by displaying their own work.
purpose space. The summer group is taken on many excursions outside
the center and generally utilizes the center space only for the beginning and
Other activities for this group are dramatic play, music, painting, puzzles,
end-of-day portion of their program. The needs of this age group can be
block play, and storytelling. Children are involved in projects, including art,
accommodated by providing:
manipulative play, simple food preparation, elementary math, problem
Adequate space for storage of children's personal belongings.
solving, science, and gardening.
Low shelving for teaching materials, toys and manipulatives.
Generous amounts of impervious floor area under eating and messy
Pre-school children will spend a lot of time in their outdoor play yard as
weather permits and also in a multiple-purpose space, if provided. They
Corners left unencumbered by storage so they can be used as interest
will participate in many of the same activities in the play yard as those
areas, "retreats", or for activities.
pursued in the classroom. Children will also go on field trips outside the
A loft that presents physical challenges as well as a "place apart" for
center, either walking with their teachers or being transported.
gathering of small groups.
Kindergarten classrooms, when provided, will have a layout similar to the
pre-school classroom except provide separate, accessible boys and girls
toilet facilities with partitioning for privacy if more then one is provided. Local
licensing requirements must be met. Note that in some states, separate
toilet facilities are required for children 48 months and older. It is the designer's
responsibility to ascertain local requirements.
PBS-140 - July 2003