Monday, August 1, 2011

If I won the lottery...

I wrote this about a year ago and it is still one of the top things I would do if I won a big lottery!  Maybe if you won the lottery it could become your dream too!


Project: The place you wish was around when you were a child!

What is it: A freeform Child Care Facility for preschool aged children all year round and for their elementary school siblings after school and in the summer.

Goals: Help get unemployed parents back to work by giving them an affordable or free, safe place for their children to grow, learn and have fun. Give children an incredible place to explore new ideas, to expand their horizons and to give them a strong and multi-faceted foundation on which to build their lives.

Foyer: overlooks the internal outdoor areas, surrounded by offices for staff

Classrooms: freeform and dynamic structures allowing for creative use of spaces – modeled after child directed learning, but with purposeful and intentional teaching of decisions/consequences and goals leading to well rounded children.

Theater/Auditorium: carpeted step like structure for seating, freeformish, without chairs but not lacking comfort sinking down to the stage, giving the room a multi-purpose design and feel. Well suited for shows, movies, talks and events of all kinds. This can be used for anything from parental instructional meetings to puppet shows to movie nights.

Art Areas: The entire building is set up to inspire art and creativity. Art areas are spaces where supplies may be procured, help may be given or guidance can be found. Art instruction would likely take place throughout the building and even in the outside areas (ie…sandpit for casting, sculpture garden for painting, grassy area for photosensitive paper projects).

Sculpture Garden: An outdoor area with pieces from many different genres. Art would be child friendly, touchable, fun, interesting.

Gym/Pool: Emphasis on being active in this area! Keeping kids active and fit while having fun is the name of the game in the gym area. With plenty of space, the gym would be home to everything from obstacle courses for little climbers to gymnastic mats for little tumblers. Innovation in space utilization and storage would be key in order to offer many different activities while allowing for traditional gym activities such as basketball/dodge ball/hockey as well. The well supervised pool area, while offering fun, would focus on teaching swimming and basic water safety skills to the children.

Fountain Area: ideal for relaxation, perhaps for parents and educators more than anyone! Perhaps a Coffee bar should be included?!?!

Eating Area: Full service kitchen offering fresh, healthy and yummy meals in a family style atmosphere, advocating conversation and relationships over meals. Fresh fruit and veggies always available. No high fructose corn syrup allowed! Outdoor picnic area (weather permitting) is ideal for Vit D for little bodies.

Library / Computer Labs: Here is where the body rests while the mind soars. With books from all over the world and from all genres and time periods. Reading nooks encourage little ones to find a beanbag chair or overstuffed kid-sized arm chair and turn some pages…even if only to see the pictures. Computers and facilitators are available for little hands and fingers to learn how to navigate and manipulate the keys and mouse to get what you want from the screen. Moms and Dads and caregivers can log in to see what their little ones are working on with the computer.

Quiet Zone: everyone needs some down time. classrooms are not for napping or rest time, rather these peaceful rooms, which are either completely dark and quiet or have soothing music and or soothing lights, are ready for little ones to rest their bodies and minds for a little while. Napping pods cocoon little bodies, while cushy mats and pillows offer room to stretch out.

Teacher Resource Area: comfortable, fully stocked, teacher/educator directed resource center. This area will be ever changing to meet the needs of our staff so they can meet the needs of our little ones!

Outoor Area / In Middle of Building: These outdoor areas are in the middle of the building, completely enclosed, safe, dynamic, exciting play and learning areas.

Grassy Area: great place for a game of kickball or a place to lay in the grass and contemplate the clouds.

Outdoor Learning Area: outdoor classroom space with outdoor spongy steps for comfortable seating – great place to learn about bugs, sunlight or really anything on a beautiful day!

Traditional Playground Area: sometimes there is nothing like a good swing to lift your spirits! Swings, monkey bars, tunnels and slides…it’s all there!

Imagination Playground Areas: here is where creativity meets major activity. Children construct their own playgrounds a new each day with large foam pieces, shoots, tubes, tunnels. The sandpit allows for creative play with funnels, tubes and scoops, while the water zone teaches cause and effect with spigots, aquaducts, troughs and ponds. All imagination zones are kid directed, dynamic and ever changing.