Architecture for Children looks at what architecture can offer for early learning environments and is aimed at anyone who is interested in the design of built environments for children.
Can architectural design respond to the unique needs of children and support and reinforce learning?
So much of the teaching in Early Learning revolves around the importance of a child's environment on their development. Over the last 100 years, many divergent philosophies have evolved with a wide breadth and depth of thinking.
Children are unique, with heightened sensory needs, special scale considerations and a totally different way of moving through and perceiving space to adults. The different educational programs and the consequent needs of the staff also impact on the architectural outcome and on how children's needs are managed.
Therefore, this title looks at both what architecture can offer learning, and what early learning requires from architecture.
In April and May 2009, a Churchill Fellowship enabled the author to explore the design of exemplar Early Childhood Centres around the world, covering 50 complexes across 10 countries. These included Scandinavia with its free government-provided childcare and outdoor forest schools; Italy, home to the highly influential Reggio Emilia pedagogy; Germany and Switzerland, for Steiner, Froebel and Environmentalism; Japan's adventurous architecture and Shinto roots; and the UK with its comprehensive Sure Start program combining early learning and adult outreach. All of these countries place a high emphasis on the environment as educator and have produced some beautiful and award-winning architecture.