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50 Ways to Improve your Center




Michael Shilale, AIA, LEED      +       David Del Campo, MS Ed
   Workshop is available online at www.shilale.com/50ways
50 Ways to Improve your Center


“Plainly, the
environment must be a
living one, directed by a
higher intelligence,
arranged by an adult
who is prepared for his
mission.”
    Maria Montessori
50 Ways to Improve your Center

                    “First we shape 
                           our 
                    environments, 
                     thereafter our 
Winston Churchill    environments 
                       shape us”
50 Ways to Improve your Center
      “The 
  environment 
        is 
       the 
 third teacher”
 Reggio Emilia, Loris Malaguzzi
                                  Loris Malaguzzi
50 Ways to Improve your Center

     “Today child in center based
care..spends and average of 10 hours a
 day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year
essentially within the four walls of one
                 room.
                             Anita Olds

3 months – 5 yrs    12,500 hours
K‐12th grade        12,500 hours
50 Ways to Improve your Center

                        The classroom 
                         environment 
                          can convey 
                      powerful messages 
                          to children


Diane Trister Dodge
50 Ways to Improve your Center
According to Diane Trister Dodge in her Creative Curriculum for Children,
effective room arrangement can help achieve important goals for children:

                                       •       Helping children learn to trust
                                               the new environment and get
                                               along with others.
                                       •       Encouraging the development
                                               of independence-making
                                               choices and taking
                                               responsibility for the
                                               environment
                                       •       Supporting children’s
                                               involvement in activities that
                                               challenge them to explore, to
                                               solve problems, to relate
                                               positively to others, and to
                                               think for themselves
                                       •       Providing ways for children to
                                               develop new skills and concepts
    Diane Trister Dodge
Overview of Workshop
• Gains ideas for better health and safety in your
  program

• Learn ways to better organize your space

• Provide a more child appropriate environment
  to reflect ‘Best Practices”

• Discover new products and materials to
  improve the quality and safety of your program.
50 Ways to Improve your Center

        Categories
•Health and Safety   •Room Arrangements
•Furniture           •Interior Surfaces
•Storage             •Light
•Outdoors            •Green Building$
Health & Safety   1

• Power Strip Protector
• <$10
Health & Safety   2
• Tamper Resistant 
  Outlets
• <$10
Health & Safety   3
• http://www.finger‐gard.com/
• http://www.fingersafe.com/
Health & Safety                   4
• 20 % rule on artwork
• Display Case




http://www.nurserymaid.com/picture_display.htm
Health & Safety                            5

The surfacing under all climbing apparatus' need to conform to 
the requirement of ASTM F1292
Health & Safety   6


Climbers indoors‐
   rated surfacing


  ASTM F1292
Furniture
Furniture                                                7
         walkarounds




http://www.kaplanco.com/store/trans/productDetailForm.asp?CatID=24%7CIT1000%7C0&PID=70386P

http://www.nurserymaid.com/risers.htm
Furniture        8

Cut down existing bookshelves
Furniture   9


Use small 
rectangular 
tables vs. large 
tables
for greater 
flexibility in
arrangement
Furniture   9


Use small 
rectangular 
tables vs. large 
tables
for greater 
flexibility in
arrangement
Furniture           9


Use small 
rectangular 
tables vs. large 
tables
for greater 
flexibility in
arrangement
Furniture   10


Consider 
a simple loft 
to increase 
your floor space
Furniture                   11


            And provide 
            a private 
            cozy space 
            for children 
            to be alone
Furniture                         12


Wall Mounted Sinks    vs   Countertop with Vanity
Storage




“The first design requirement expressed by every
child care teacher is for more storage space. There
never seems to be enough! ”

Anita Olds, Child Care Design Guide
Storage


  Organize Storage in three levels

• Daily                                  Don’t forget
• Short term                             Outdoor
• Long term                              Storage

“A shocking fact is that 10% of a center’s
  square footage…needs to be allocated for
  storage…NOT accessible to children..”
Anita Olds
Storage
                          13



Daily Storage

Encourage
independence
Storage
                             14


  Short Term Storage
• Shelf
• Wall cabinet
Storage
                                          15

   Long Term Storage 
(for rotating materials)


• Each Group Room should have a storage
  of 40 – 60 square feet
• Build closet at end of hallway*
• Under stairs*
Outdoors


“There’s no way that we can help
children to learn to love and preserve
this planet, if we don’t give them direct
experiences with the miracles and
blessings of nature.”

Anita Olds, Children Come First CD
Outdoor                    16


Consider Gardening with the children
Outdoor                               17


Or providing plants for outdoor experiences

                      • Herbs such as mint,basil, and
                      • Forthythia and other spring
                        flowering plants
                      • Plants to attract butterflies
                        (butterfly bush)



                       Plants for Play
                       Robin C. Moore
Outdoor              18

             Variety of Surfacing 

Bike Paths
Outdoor              19

        Variety of Surfacing 

Grass
Outdoor              20

Variety of Surfacing 
     Change in levels
Outdoor                                 21


                  Protection from the Sun
        Unprotected skin can be damaged by the sun's UV rays
                      in as little as 15 minutes.


http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/pdf/sunsafety_v0908.pdf
Outdoor       21

Fabric Canopy at Playground
Outdoor                    22

Or plant a maple tree on Arbor Day, April 29th
Outdoor                                        22

"No shade. tree? Blame not the sun but yourself.“
                   Chinese Proverb
Room Arrangements

                     “Research shows that the more child-
                     scaled the environmental space, the
                     higher the quality and complexity of
                     children's play will be, and the longer
                     they will be preoccupied in the play. In
                     other words, a child-scaled
                     environment increases children's
                     interest and concentration, and it
                     delays boredom. In a large space,
Randy White, CEO,    children are encouraged through
                     reading the environment to move about
White Hutchinson     from one thing to another, whereas in
Leisure & Learning   small contained areas, they are more
Group, Inc.          focused.”
Room Arrangements                       23


• Your first step in laying out your room is to 
  consider the fixed features in your room
• Doors and Windows
• Source of water
• Electrical outlets

• Consider: can you change these?
Room Arrangements   23


• Flow (Circulation ):
• Identify the main 
  pathways in the 
  room.
• How you move 
  from one place to 
  another in a room?
Room Arrangements          24


            • The sink area 
              was not easily 
              accessible to 
              children and 
              staff; the 
              water table 
              obstructed 
              the pathway.
Room Arrangements          25



          The shelving unit 
             also made it 
          difficult to get to 
               the sink
Room Arrangements     25

Before            After
Room Arrangements   25


  By moving the 
 shelf unit away 
  from the sink 
  area, children 
 had easy access 
for hand washing
Room Arrangements                   26



• Grouping
• What are the learning center you plan on 
  including in your classroom?
• Blocks, Dramatic Play, Music, 
• Manipulatives, Computer
• Art, Science/Math, Library, Private Space
Room Arrangements   27



• Divide these 
  into center that 
  are quiet and 
  noisy
Room Arrangements   27



• Start by 
  considering the 
  areas the need 
  water and 
  electricity‐ your 
  fixed element
Room Arrangements                         28


• Next determine where you noisy and quiet areas will be
Room Arrangements          28


• All quiet areas grouped together
Room Arrangements                       29


• Provide areas in the room where children can interact 
  with writing and pictures
Room Arrangements                          29


• Be sure to clearly define your areas



                                         The manipulative
                                         shelf was moved
                                         in front of the
                                         table to provide a
                                         better sense of
                                         space
Interior Surfaces / Finishes



    “Whether people are fully conscious of this
    or not, they actually derive countenance
    and sustenance from the ‘atmosphere’ of
    the things they live in or with.”

       Frank Lloyd Wright
Interior Surfaces / Finishes   30

Area Rugs vs. Wall to 
  Wall Carpets
Interior Surfaces / Finishes                 31

Tile at Entry and Rest    Carpet at levels
   Room
Interior Surfaces / Finishes   32

Define Areas
Centers
Interior Surfaces / Finishes   33

• Paint Color 
  Pastels vs 
  primaries
Interior Surfaces / Finishes   34

• Art Display
• Homosote
Interior Surfaces / Finishes   35

Paint vs Vinyl

•   Cost
•   Flexibility
•   Durability
•   Clean ability
Lighting



“Light is the most important
environmental input, after food, in
controlling body function. “

   Richard Wurtman
Lighting              36


           Daylight is 
             Preferable

           High Windows
             Or Clerestory
Lighting      37


  Daylight 
    from 

  Solatubes
Lighting       38


Good Daylight Design needs 
Glare Control – Translucent Fabrics
Lighting                              39
Light Levels          footcandles
Group Room            30 fc
Corridor              10 fc
Multi‐purpose         20 fc


Light quality
CRI                   80 min (sunlight is 100)


Other Considerations
Dimmers – Track Lighting – Wall Sconces – Indirect Lighting
Green Strategies



“Our present systems of design have
created a world that grows far beyond the
capacity of the environment to sustain
life into the future. “

   William McDonough
Green Strategies        40


Lighting Incentives
   Rebates of up to 70% of the cost 
   Free Energy Audits
Green Strategies                              41


Computer Load Management ‐ Hundreds of leading 
  organizations have activated power management 
  features on computers saving as much as $50 per 
  computer annually


                  http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=power_
                  mgt.pr_power_mgt_low_carbon_join
Green Strategies                    42


Programmable Thermostats – Energy Management 
  Systems
Green Strategies    43


Occupancy and Daylight Sensors
Green Strategies                    44

Water Saving Automatic Shut off Faucets




Proximity Lavatory Faucet      Metering Faucet
Price: $509                    Price: $131 - $214 *
Green Strategies                    45

Water Saving .5 gpm aerators




                        1.0 or .5 gpm (.35 gpm)
                        <$5
Green Strategies   46

Rain Barrels
Green Strategies   47
Rain Gardens
Green 
               48
 Strategies

Linoleum 
vs 
Vinyl Floor 
   Tile
Green Strategies                  49

Indoor Air Quality – Fresh Air

Americans spend an average of 90% of 
their time indoors, and the quality of the 
indoor environment therefore has a 
significant influence on their well‐being, 
productivity and quality of life.

   United States Green Building Council
50 Ways to Improve your
                                          50
        Center

Your Favorite Idea
Other ideas from audience
1. All Outlets at 4’ aff. In chair rail
2. Add radiant heat to floors
3.
Thank you

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Nysaeyc 2011 50 ways to improve your center

  • 2. 50 Ways to Improve your Center “Plainly, the environment must be a living one, directed by a higher intelligence, arranged by an adult who is prepared for his mission.” Maria Montessori
  • 3. 50 Ways to Improve your Center “First we shape  our  environments,  thereafter our  Winston Churchill environments  shape us”
  • 4. 50 Ways to Improve your Center “The  environment  is  the  third teacher” Reggio Emilia, Loris Malaguzzi Loris Malaguzzi
  • 5. 50 Ways to Improve your Center “Today child in center based care..spends and average of 10 hours a day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year essentially within the four walls of one room. Anita Olds 3 months – 5 yrs    12,500 hours K‐12th grade 12,500 hours
  • 6. 50 Ways to Improve your Center The classroom  environment  can convey  powerful messages  to children Diane Trister Dodge
  • 7. 50 Ways to Improve your Center According to Diane Trister Dodge in her Creative Curriculum for Children, effective room arrangement can help achieve important goals for children: • Helping children learn to trust the new environment and get along with others. • Encouraging the development of independence-making choices and taking responsibility for the environment • Supporting children’s involvement in activities that challenge them to explore, to solve problems, to relate positively to others, and to think for themselves • Providing ways for children to develop new skills and concepts Diane Trister Dodge
  • 8. Overview of Workshop • Gains ideas for better health and safety in your program • Learn ways to better organize your space • Provide a more child appropriate environment to reflect ‘Best Practices” • Discover new products and materials to improve the quality and safety of your program.
  • 9. 50 Ways to Improve your Center Categories •Health and Safety •Room Arrangements •Furniture •Interior Surfaces •Storage •Light •Outdoors •Green Building$
  • 10. Health & Safety 1 • Power Strip Protector • <$10
  • 11. Health & Safety 2 • Tamper Resistant  Outlets • <$10
  • 12. Health & Safety 3 • http://www.finger‐gard.com/ • http://www.fingersafe.com/
  • 13. Health & Safety 4 • 20 % rule on artwork • Display Case http://www.nurserymaid.com/picture_display.htm
  • 14. Health & Safety 5 The surfacing under all climbing apparatus' need to conform to  the requirement of ASTM F1292
  • 15. Health & Safety 6 Climbers indoors‐ rated surfacing ASTM F1292
  • 17. Furniture 7 walkarounds http://www.kaplanco.com/store/trans/productDetailForm.asp?CatID=24%7CIT1000%7C0&PID=70386P http://www.nurserymaid.com/risers.htm
  • 18. Furniture 8 Cut down existing bookshelves
  • 19. Furniture 9 Use small  rectangular  tables vs. large  tables for greater  flexibility in arrangement
  • 20. Furniture 9 Use small  rectangular  tables vs. large  tables for greater  flexibility in arrangement
  • 21. Furniture 9 Use small  rectangular  tables vs. large  tables for greater  flexibility in arrangement
  • 22. Furniture 10 Consider  a simple loft  to increase  your floor space
  • 23. Furniture 11 And provide  a private  cozy space  for children  to be alone
  • 24. Furniture 12 Wall Mounted Sinks    vs   Countertop with Vanity
  • 25. Storage “The first design requirement expressed by every child care teacher is for more storage space. There never seems to be enough! ” Anita Olds, Child Care Design Guide
  • 26. Storage Organize Storage in three levels • Daily Don’t forget • Short term Outdoor • Long term Storage “A shocking fact is that 10% of a center’s square footage…needs to be allocated for storage…NOT accessible to children..” Anita Olds
  • 27. Storage 13 Daily Storage Encourage independence
  • 28. Storage 14 Short Term Storage • Shelf • Wall cabinet
  • 29. Storage 15 Long Term Storage  (for rotating materials) • Each Group Room should have a storage of 40 – 60 square feet • Build closet at end of hallway* • Under stairs*
  • 30. Outdoors “There’s no way that we can help children to learn to love and preserve this planet, if we don’t give them direct experiences with the miracles and blessings of nature.” Anita Olds, Children Come First CD
  • 31. Outdoor 16 Consider Gardening with the children
  • 32. Outdoor 17 Or providing plants for outdoor experiences • Herbs such as mint,basil, and • Forthythia and other spring flowering plants • Plants to attract butterflies (butterfly bush) Plants for Play Robin C. Moore
  • 33. Outdoor 18 Variety of Surfacing  Bike Paths
  • 34. Outdoor 19 Variety of Surfacing  Grass
  • 35. Outdoor 20 Variety of Surfacing  Change in levels
  • 36. Outdoor 21 Protection from the Sun Unprotected skin can be damaged by the sun's UV rays in as little as 15 minutes. http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/pdf/sunsafety_v0908.pdf
  • 37. Outdoor 21 Fabric Canopy at Playground
  • 38. Outdoor 22 Or plant a maple tree on Arbor Day, April 29th
  • 39. Outdoor 22 "No shade. tree? Blame not the sun but yourself.“ Chinese Proverb
  • 40. Room Arrangements “Research shows that the more child- scaled the environmental space, the higher the quality and complexity of children's play will be, and the longer they will be preoccupied in the play. In other words, a child-scaled environment increases children's interest and concentration, and it delays boredom. In a large space, Randy White, CEO, children are encouraged through reading the environment to move about White Hutchinson from one thing to another, whereas in Leisure & Learning small contained areas, they are more Group, Inc. focused.”
  • 41. Room Arrangements 23 • Your first step in laying out your room is to  consider the fixed features in your room • Doors and Windows • Source of water • Electrical outlets • Consider: can you change these?
  • 42. Room Arrangements 23 • Flow (Circulation ): • Identify the main  pathways in the  room. • How you move  from one place to  another in a room?
  • 43. Room Arrangements 24 • The sink area  was not easily  accessible to  children and  staff; the  water table  obstructed  the pathway.
  • 44. Room Arrangements 25 The shelving unit  also made it  difficult to get to  the sink
  • 45. Room Arrangements 25 Before After
  • 46. Room Arrangements 25 By moving the  shelf unit away  from the sink  area, children  had easy access  for hand washing
  • 47. Room Arrangements 26 • Grouping • What are the learning center you plan on  including in your classroom? • Blocks, Dramatic Play, Music,  • Manipulatives, Computer • Art, Science/Math, Library, Private Space
  • 48. Room Arrangements 27 • Divide these  into center that  are quiet and  noisy
  • 49. Room Arrangements 27 • Start by  considering the  areas the need  water and  electricity‐ your  fixed element
  • 50. Room Arrangements 28 • Next determine where you noisy and quiet areas will be
  • 51. Room Arrangements 28 • All quiet areas grouped together
  • 52. Room Arrangements 29 • Provide areas in the room where children can interact  with writing and pictures
  • 53. Room Arrangements 29 • Be sure to clearly define your areas The manipulative shelf was moved in front of the table to provide a better sense of space
  • 54. Interior Surfaces / Finishes “Whether people are fully conscious of this or not, they actually derive countenance and sustenance from the ‘atmosphere’ of the things they live in or with.” Frank Lloyd Wright
  • 55. Interior Surfaces / Finishes 30 Area Rugs vs. Wall to  Wall Carpets
  • 56. Interior Surfaces / Finishes 31 Tile at Entry and Rest  Carpet at levels Room
  • 57. Interior Surfaces / Finishes 32 Define Areas Centers
  • 58. Interior Surfaces / Finishes 33 • Paint Color  Pastels vs  primaries
  • 59. Interior Surfaces / Finishes 34 • Art Display • Homosote
  • 60. Interior Surfaces / Finishes 35 Paint vs Vinyl • Cost • Flexibility • Durability • Clean ability
  • 61. Lighting “Light is the most important environmental input, after food, in controlling body function. “ Richard Wurtman
  • 62. Lighting 36 Daylight is  Preferable High Windows Or Clerestory
  • 63. Lighting 37 Daylight  from  Solatubes
  • 64. Lighting 38 Good Daylight Design needs  Glare Control – Translucent Fabrics
  • 65. Lighting 39 Light Levels footcandles Group Room 30 fc Corridor 10 fc Multi‐purpose 20 fc Light quality CRI 80 min (sunlight is 100) Other Considerations Dimmers – Track Lighting – Wall Sconces – Indirect Lighting
  • 66. Green Strategies “Our present systems of design have created a world that grows far beyond the capacity of the environment to sustain life into the future. “ William McDonough
  • 67. Green Strategies 40 Lighting Incentives Rebates of up to 70% of the cost  Free Energy Audits
  • 68. Green Strategies 41 Computer Load Management ‐ Hundreds of leading  organizations have activated power management  features on computers saving as much as $50 per  computer annually http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=power_ mgt.pr_power_mgt_low_carbon_join
  • 69. Green Strategies 42 Programmable Thermostats – Energy Management  Systems
  • 70. Green Strategies 43 Occupancy and Daylight Sensors
  • 71. Green Strategies 44 Water Saving Automatic Shut off Faucets Proximity Lavatory Faucet Metering Faucet Price: $509 Price: $131 - $214 *
  • 72. Green Strategies 45 Water Saving .5 gpm aerators 1.0 or .5 gpm (.35 gpm) <$5
  • 73. Green Strategies 46 Rain Barrels
  • 74. Green Strategies 47 Rain Gardens
  • 75. Green  48 Strategies Linoleum  vs  Vinyl Floor  Tile
  • 76. Green Strategies 49 Indoor Air Quality – Fresh Air Americans spend an average of 90% of  their time indoors, and the quality of the  indoor environment therefore has a  significant influence on their well‐being,  productivity and quality of life. United States Green Building Council
  • 77. 50 Ways to Improve your 50 Center Your Favorite Idea Other ideas from audience 1. All Outlets at 4’ aff. In chair rail 2. Add radiant heat to floors 3.