The new 10,936 square foot, one-story R&B Shultz Early Childhood Education Center will be the new home of the early childhood education program assisting young children in early learning and growing. The new center provides two levels of childcare (toddler and preschool) and includes faculty offices, additional parking adjacent to the new structure, and dedicated teaching spaces related to early childhood education. This building houses classrooms, observation rooms, offices, lounge, reception, workrooms, adult and child restrooms, and kitchens.
Creating a center where the students and educators feel safe and secure was one of the main goals of the district. Aligning to those goals, 19six designed a single point of entry to the center. The preschool and toddler classrooms were further separated and secured from the main entry by an access-controlled hallway, preventing direct access to children designated areas. The hallway provides direct views for supervision of the classrooms through one-way glass. For efficiency of access and overlap of supervision between the classrooms, all necessary support services are located between the childcare classrooms.
In creating a homelike atmosphere, it was important for 19six to design all classrooms to have ample natural light. 19six positioned the building to have indirect sunlight as the main ambient lighting of the center. To create the most comfortable learning environment for the children, the childcare areas are specifically designed with a sensitivity to children’s scale. The design team took into consideration how the children will use the space, what they see, and what kind of experience they have. The classrooms lead directly into a covered play yard for outdoor learning and then into a large play area with play structures, swings, canopies, different natural texture ground covers, turf mounds with slides, a performance area, sandboxes, trike paths, and a garden.
The building also promotes college-level early childhood education with live experiences, video recordings of teaching sessions, and monitoring as needed. For educational purposes, there are observation rooms providing visual and audial access to the preschool and toddler classrooms.