CHAPTER 7: INTERIOR SPACE DESIGN
Partial enclosure: Provide partial height enclosure for fixed elements
Consideration must also be given to the adults using the space. Center
in the following areas: food preparation, children's toilet and hand wash-
design must be adult-friendly, as well as child-friendly. As a result, not all
ing, sleeping area for infants, and the rear of cubbies. Food preparation
elements should be reduced in scale. Door locks, light switches, fire alarm
and toileting/diapering areas must be clearly separated to diminish the
pull stations, and other functional elements should retain adult scale and
chance that a caregiver could inadvertently go directly from diapering to
be mounted at standard heights. Food preparation, storage and service
food preparation without hand washing. Partitions with vision panels
spaces, and other areas of the center used by adults should remain at
can be used effectively for this purpose to separate these areas while
still allowing supervision.
Furnishings for adults such as sofas used for comforting and reading to
Complete enclosure: Provide complete enclosure for teacher storage
infants and young children should be adult scale. Some items may double
within the classroom and for the adult toilets.
function for children and adults. In placing electrical/telecommunication or
security equipment, ensure that cords and wire are not placed in such a
way that children can reach and play with them or that their placement can
pose a strangulation threat.
If the classroom is to be "nurturing," its design must reflect the designers
appreciation of children's scale, including the size of individual spaces within
7.4 Architectural Form
the classroom and the scale of furnishings. (Refer to Anthropomorphic
Table.) It is important to adjust the perceived scale of the classroom. While
The architectural form of the classroom should be an appropriate setting
areas of high ceilings in a classroom may be desirable, in spaces which
for a child, conveying a definite sense of place while preserving optimal
the child perceives as " too high" to have a residential character (85% of
flexibility, with the great majority of the space free of constructed elements.
the room over 3350 mm high) perceived height must be modulated.
In this way, furniture arrangement can create the required functional area.
Vary ceilings heights: Vary ceiling heights to define areas, disperse
For instance, consider using sources or pendant lighting or ceiling fans
light, and create interest. Higher activity levels are often encouraged by
hung at no lower than 2285 mm above the occupied floor area below.
higher ceiling heights, while quiet areas are supported by lower ceiling
Pendant task lighting over fixed elements may hang as low as 1675 mm as
heights. The probability of higher construction costs must be consid-
long as headroom is not required for passage. Choose fans to improve air
ered in determining the extent of variation.
flow and energy efficiency with rotation that can be reversed, depending
Vary floor levels: Consider varying floor levels to create riser lofts and
upon the season. Aside from the obvious mechanical and lighting
low platforms. Sunken areas are also effective. The designer should be
enhancements that these strategies provide, they also help tailor spaces
aware that permanent, constructed level changes may restrict flexibility
to children's spatial perceptions. In addition, this provides the opportunity
and use up valuable open floor space when they become too large.
to hang banners and create trellis ceilings over activity areas. Ensure that
Fixed level changes will require a wheelchair accessible ramp. Some
they will not impede the function of the sprinkler system.
level change may be effected by elements which are not fixed. When
used effectively, level changes add interest and create intimate areas
Window sills and counters used by children should be child height,
for children. Terraces and platforms provide areas for socio-dramatic
depending upon the age of the child using the space. However, leave 460
play activities and also can double as seating areas. Lofts that can
mm beneath widow sills (measured to the classroom finish floor) so that
accommodate 3-5 children can offer children many possible activities,
furniture and equipment can be placed easily along exterior walls.
such as large motor activities, dramatic play, or perhaps space apart for
Storefront-type windows starting at the finished floor are not desirable.
quiet activities. The designer must keep in mind that low level changes
can sometimes be a tripping hazard.
Furnishings and equipment for children should be child-scaled, such as
Vary wall configurations: Consider modulating partitions to create
toilets, hand-washing sinks, and countertops. Countertop height and reach
interest, soften a space, to create a more nurturing impression, or to
depth should provide children with the opportunities to use them unassisted.
create special spaces. Avoid the occurrence of 90 degree or acute
PBS-140 - July 2003