CHAPTER 7: INTERIOR SPACE DESIGN
School-age children require ample table space for games and projects.
Recessed constructed areas provide infants with large, contained spaces
Storage is required for games and supplies.
in which to move about and explore. The low retaining sides allow infants
School-age children in summer programs often go on excursions and
to pull up and move. Similar portable low boundaries might work as well.
use the classroom mostly for a staging area.
Caution must be used in permanently constructing such an area so that it
will reduce classroom flexibility.
A listing of furniture and equipment for this area is found in Chapter 8.
7.6.2 Toddler and Pre-School Lofts and Platforms:
Lofts enhance toddler and pre-school classrooms by offering:
Challenging, large motor activities
Lofts and platform areas are optional constructed or purchased elements
Small intimate spaces
within the classroom. These areas can offer many activity opportunities
Additional spaces for exploration
and advantages. Lofts must always be designed or positioned with the
Opportunities for a child to view the environment from another level
safety of the children in mind. As of this writing, ASTM requirements for
A classroom with more character
multi-purpose rooms and other areas designated for lofts or other raised
play equipment are under discussion. Under these requirements, if adopted,
The following design requirements must be considered in the design of a
these areas must have impact-attenuation surfacing rated for the height of
loft for toddler and pre-school age groups.
the equipment to be placed thereon. This impact absorbing surfacing is
Lofts must be no higher than 915 mm above the finished floor for tod-
usually in the range of 38 mm thick but varies with maunfacturer. If the
dlers and 1370 mm above the finished floor for pre-school children.
requirements are adopted by ASTM in new buildings, the floor construction
Lofts should be designed to minimize conflict; allowing more than one
should be recessed to accept the material so that it is flush with surrounding
child to use equipment at any one time. For instance, offering stairs
floor finishes. Surfacing must extend beyond raised equipment if required
going up and a slide coming down will minimize congestion and the
by CPSC and ASTM. In existing construction, transition pieces are needed
resulting possibility of conflict.
to accomodate existing surrounding floor elevations. Typically, apart from
Loft features meeting the definition for fall zones must be provided with
built-in riser "stages," lofts will be purchased pieces of equipment that the
resilient surfaces as prescribed by the Consumer Product Safety
A/E will accommodate in the design. It is the A/E responsibilty to ascertain
Commission's Handbook for Public Playground Safety. Please refer to
the status of these ASTM proposals and comply, if required. Lofts with
Chapter 6, Play Yard Surfaces.
slides and steps offer variety of experience; however, it is best for circulation
Lofts must meet the construction requirements of the latest edition of
and program if they are sized to accept the play of two children at once on
GSA's Facilities Standards for the Public Buildings Service and other
the slide and are arranged so that steps and slides are located descending
Federal standards that may apply.
in the same direction. Consult with GSA RCCC on selection of the
Guardrails must be provided to protect children from falling from raised
purchased lofts. See Chapter 10 for technical requirements for automatic
areas. Toddlers must have guardrails on any constructed surface greater
sprinkler systems where lofts cover a space occupied by children.
than 250 mm above adjacent surfaces. Pre-school children must have
guardrails on any raised surface greater than 505 mm above floor level.1
7.6.1 Infant Lofts and Platforms:
The top of the guardrail must be at least 760 mm above the platform.
Infant classrooms require soft, colorful crawling areas with low level changes
Openings between 88 mm and 229 mm must be avoided to prevent
such as low, carpeted, constructed platforms; movable foam shapes; or
head entrapment. There can be no openings between 9 mm and
forms that provide level changes. Ramps, or small 76 mm to 102 mm
25 mm to prevent finger/hand entrapment. Guardrails must also meet
steps, should be used between level changes. All corners should be
the requirements of the latest edition of the National Fire Protection As-
rounded and all surfaces should be soft and forgiving of falls. The maximum
sociation, Life Safety Code.
total height of platforms for infants is 455 mm.
Protective barriers must be provided on all raised surfaces 610 mm
above floor level or higher for pre-school and younger children.2 Pro-
PBS-140 - July 2003