Early Learning Center inspires curiosity, encourages interaction, and optimizes indoor/outdoor connections
A 57,000-square-foot expansion (to a junior high school) consolidates all district early learning programs in a single facility. Designers developed the facility around outdoor learning areas, including a courtyard rich in age-appropriate learning opportunities and three themed learning gardens (fine arts, nature, sensory) positioned between classroom volumes.
The staggered arrangement of eight classroom bars responds to a key goal: to maximize learning opportunities beyond the classrooms. Each pair of classrooms connects via a sliding glass door and an integrated therapy room in which specialists provide small-group instruction. Light-filled corridors house a culinary arts zone with a child-size counter and “therapy stairs” for training. Corridors also feature breakout spaces with curving ceiling and wall patterns, wall materials that welcome touch, and views of the learning gardens. A family resource center helps parents get to know staff while their children acclimate to their new environment. A large motor skills area adjacent to the courtyard serves children of all needs.