Design of Children’s Indoor Spaces

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3.2.5.3 Part C: Children’s Indoor Spaces

The subscales are in Part C relate to the spaces where children spend the majority of time when they are in the building. Indoor spaces contain activity areas and home bases.

"C:\Users\Compaq\Desktop\dght.JPG"According to subscale one, functionally separate units within the building called modules and it serving most of children’s functional and developmental needs (e.g., a number of various developmentally related activity areas plus sleeping and eating areas, etc). It is a self-contained area with everything that preschoolers require from play to eating and toilets.

Figure 1: Two modules within one building

If the preschool is not divided into modules, all the scales in this division should be used only once. If the preschool is divided into modules, each module wants to assess separately. There are five subscales in Part C “Children’s Indoor Spaces”. They are modified open-plan space, home bases, quiet activity areas, physical activity areas and messy activity areas.

3.2.5.3.1 Subscale 7- Modified Open-Plan Space

Modified open-plan space means flexibly designed preschooler’s activity spaces having a combination of semi-open areas unified with smaller, partly covered spaces to accommodate children independently, in little groups, or in bigger groups and to facilitate them moving free from one activity to another. This open plan system helps to motor development, psychosocial development as well as behavior development.

It is difference to completely closed-plan space that each activity is in a separate room. In open-plan space there are not many or no partitions between different activity areas. There are six items in this subscale assessed on a 5-point linear numeric scale varies from “Not Met” to “Fully Met” (score of 0 to 4). If there are more modules, it is needed to assess them all separately

7.1 Children’s activity areas are partially enclosed to provide protection from visual and noise distractions (e.g., partitions, half walls, bookcases, storage and shelves, etc).

7.2 Children’s activity areas can be easily modified to change activities from week to week (e.g., few or no permanent walls, but partitions or furnishings are easily moved).

7.3 Children in one activity area can see other activities within the same module (e.g., low or no walls/partitions, low windows or other openings if there are walls, low furnishings, etc).

7.4 Spaces for noisy activities (e.g., gross-motor play, dramatic play, music) are separated from spaces for quiet activities (e.g., reading).

7.5 Spaces for messy activities (e.g., arts and crafts, water play) are separated from spaces for clean activities (e.g., reading).

7.6 Indoor children’s spaces are spatially and visually connected with outdoor play areas.

All six items in this subscale do not need to modify or change much. It can directly use as it is in ECPERS.

3.2.5.3.2 Subscale 8- Home Bases

A home base means a space or adjacent spaces for additional functional and care-giving activities of the preschool like keep personal things like bags and water bottles, eating and snacking, napping, going to the toilets etc.

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Figure 1: Home base activities

Spaces for these activities should cluster in adjoining and interconnecting spaces. The home base should friendly and home-like and welcoming place that the preschooler starts and finishes the day.

The existence as well as the quality of the spaces has been considered to score the space. Highest points “4” should be given only if the functions happen in a well-defined space. A well-defined space means an architecturally expressed space, with sufficient space for the function and is not breached by other things. There are eight items in this subscale assessed on a 5-point linear numeric scale varies from “Not Met” to “Fully Met” (score of 0 to 4). If there are more modules, it is needed to assess them all separately.

  • Infants: birth to 1.5-2.5 yrs old
  • Toddlers: 1.5-2.5 yrs to 3-4 yrs
  • Preschoolers: 3-4 yrs to 5-6 yrs

8.1 The center (or module being evaluated) has a well-defined area for individual lockers or cubbies for each child’s personal belongings.

According to the educators idea it is not essential to have lockers for each child, but an area with child scale safety racks with enough separate parts for each child is needed. The child fully satisfies with his own space.

8.2 The center or module has an area clearly intended for eating (e.g., a cluster of tables) used predominantly for lunch and snacks (OK if used for other activities at other times).

This area helps the preschooler to develop his motor skills, behavior, communication skills etc.

8.3 The center or module has a quiet sleeping area separate from children’s play areas (so it can be used for napping at any time during the day).

8.4 If the center or module serves infants and younger toddlers, it has a diapering area from which staff can see activity areas.

This 8.4 item is applicable in early childhood centers with day cares, and toddlers. It is not essential for the centers only have preschool age children.

8.5 If the center or module serves toddlers or children in the process of becoming toilet-trained, it has toilets that are not closed or isolated but that are visually and spatially connected to other indoor children’s activity areas.

8.6 If the center or module serves toddlers or children already toilet-trained, it has a toilet area that is closed and architecturally separated from other indoor children’s activity areas (e.g., by walls, not by distance).

8.7 The above facilities are grouped together into one location.

8.8 The above facilities are adjacent and visually connected to children’s indoor spaces.

Designing the toilets in a preschool is very important. The toilet training is the most difficult and critical duty for children in this early childhood. According to Freud if the child did not satisfied the need of this stage, it directly effect to the personality of him when he become an adult. This is the age stage that child’s satisfaction transfers from anal to phallic. So the physical environmental factors are prime important to help the child to fulfill his requirement without any difficulties. Most of the psychological issues of children start with toilet training. The psychological disorder called “Perfectnism” occurs due to some issues in toilet training.

3.2.5.3.3 Subscale 9- Quiet Activity Areas

Activity areas are the indoor spaces where different developmentally oriented play activities are occurred. They are “primary activity spaces” for the developmental requirements of preschoolers. An activity area must be dedicated to the activity and there should be adequate space for two to five children plus one teacher. There are three types of activity areas called quiet activity areas, physical activity areas and messy activity areas.

In quiet activity area basically three activities are taken place. Those are reading for language development, small toy play for fine motor skills development and computers.

But every educators and parents idea was using computers at preschool is not suitable for children. When the child works with a computer, his eyes and finger tips work. And it wastes the time of child to learn more things in the environment and involve in advantageous activity for his development and learning.

When rate the space, those activity areas should have adequate space for four or five children and 1 teacher. If the activity area isn’t well defined or is too tiny to accommodate four or five children and 1 teacher, has to score “0” for those.

If the activity area is shared with two or more activities at different time to time, has to score it “2”. If the activity is in well defined space allocated only for that specific activity, score it as “4”. If the center does not serve for infants and toddlers, have to tick NA “Not Applicable” front of it.

Reading area

9.1 The center (or module being evaluated) has a designated reading area for toddlers (e.g., an identifiable reading area with books close at hands, etc).

9.2 The center or module has a designated reading area for preschoolers.

9.3 The reading area is separated spatially and acoustically from other (non-shared) activity areas (e.g., partially enclosed by partitions, furniture, etc, maybe different floor and ceiling levels, etc).

9.4 The reading area is cozy and comfortable (e.g., soft sitting areas, beanbags, cushions, etc).

9.5 The reading area has appropriate furnishings and storage (e.g., couch, easily accessible shelves, etc).

Items 9.1 and 9.2 has to score according to existence of the space an identifiable area for the activity as “0”, “2” and “4” to “No, Shared and Yes”. 9.3 to 9.5 assessed on a 5-point linear numeric scale vary from “Not Met” to “Fully Met” (score of 0 to 4).

Manipulative (Fine Motor) Play Area

9.6 The center (or module being evaluated) has a manipulative play area for infants (e.g., blocks, small cars and trucks, manipulation toys, etc).

9.7 The center or module has a manipulative play area for toddlers.

9.8 The center or module has a manipulative play area for preschoolers (e.g., advanced puzzles, Lego, etc).

9.9 The manipulative play area is spatially separated from other (non-shared) activity areas (e.g., different floor and ceiling levels, partially enclosed, etc).

9.10 The manipulative play area has appropriate furnishings and storage (e.g., flat child-height work surfaces, shelves, display racks, etc).

Items 9.6 to 9.8 has to score according to existence of the space an identifiable area for the activity as “0”, “2” and “4” to “No, Shared and Yes”. Items 9.9 and 9.10 assessed on a 5-point linear numeric scale vary from “Not Met” to “Fully Met” (score of 0 to 4).

Computer Area

9.11 The center (or module being evaluated) has a computer area for toddlers.

9.12 The center or module has a computer area for preschoolers.

9.13 The computer area is spatially separated from other (non-shared) activity areas (e.g., different floor and ceiling levels, partially enclosed).

9.14 The computer area has appropriate furnishings and storage (e.g., desks, chairs, display shelves, storage for equipment, etc).

All the items under computer area can be removed from the scale according to the local context and idea of educators and parents.

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