CHAPTER 7: INTERIOR SPACE DESIGN
outside corners that pose hazards to children who may run into them.
children to see out of them, yet should allow small-scaled furniture to be
Curved or obtuse angled partitions should be considered instead. 25
placed beneath them.
mm rounded outside corner drywall beads should be used. The designer
Provide visibility to the staff: Teachers must have an unrestricted
must keep in mind that visibility of all areas within the classroom is a key
view of the children at all times, both within the classroom and in the
factor, so avoid creating "blind" areas that would make teacher supervi-
play yards. Views must be provided between classrooms and other
spaces in the center. Any interior doors, with the exception of adult and
Locate plumbing fixtures in one area: Elements with plumbing con-
school-age toilet areas, must have visibility panels. Dutch doors are not
nections, such as toilet areas and art sinks, should be grouped together
recommended as they pose a hazard for finger pinching. Partial walls
for more efficient construction where possible. Food preparation must
and interior glazing allow visual supervision and allow children to be
be separated from diapering and toilet areas, though it can be placed on
aware of others in the center. Partitioning at the sides of toileting areas
the opposite side of partitions with plumbing.
should be no higher than 1070 mm to allow supervision of children
Provide ample display space: Provide a significant amount of class-
younger than kindergarten; 1370 mm for kindergartners.
room wall display area at children's height for display of art work and
projects. Include devices for display of artwork that do not involve tacks
There must be gates with view panels in infant and toddler classrooms to
(because they are dangerous around young children) and tape (because
prevent children from accessing kitchen and diaper areas.
it can damage the finish of partitions). Display of the children's artwork
is an indication of a successful child care center, where children's art
Zone classroom space to separate active and quiet activities: Use
and development are valued.
variations in ceiling height, floor height, wall configuration, light levels,
Preserve inside corners: Corners within the classroom offer opportu-
finishes, and open areas to modulate perceived activity levels within the
nities to create differentiated areas. Retain inside corners, and use the
different areas of the classroom. Zone high-activity areas, such as the
features such as low partitions in back of cubbies to create the nurturing
entrance, eating/table areas, and the exit to the play yard, away from
areas intended for sleeping and quiet activities. Likewise "messy" ar-
Provide natural light: The successful use of natural light benefits cen-
eas and "clean" areas should be considered by the designer and zoned
ters by reducing total energy use for lighting while improving the indoor
to provide appropriate separation.
environment and child well-being. Data from two studies on school en-
vironments, which have similar characteristics to child care centers,
Figure 7.9: Quiet and Active Areas
demonstrate the potential for these benefits:
Daylit schools saved an average of
.27/SF in energy costs over
non-daylit schools. (Source: Energy Performance of Daylit Schools,
Innovative Design, NC.)
Students from classrooms with more natural light scored up to 25% higher
HIGH LIGHT LEVELS
LOWER LIGHT LEVELS
on standardized tests than other students in the same school district.
(Source: Study by Heschong Mahone Group, CA.) For specific technical
requirements related to windows and daylighting, see section 10.7.
Provide views for children: Views allow children to be aware of their
surroundings and the world beyond the center. Views should be pro-
vided to the outside, particularly to the play yards. Views to atria and
planters, common spaces, other classrooms, and circulating pathways
also are of benefit. Windows should be located at sills low enough for
PBS-140 - July 2003