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This paper discusses the developmentally appropriate design of child care centers, focusing on the qualities or properties of center design that have been proven to influence child development. The paper suggests that the design of child care centers can be considered in terms of the five main steps in planning and designing a child care facility. First, they should be designed on a neighborhood hub model, incorporating family child care and group care centers of no more than 60-75 children, and located in neighborhoods or at workplaces. Larger centers may be subdivided into clusters of separate buildings with a central core for administrative and support services. Buildings should fit into the architecture of the locale and have adequate indoor and outdoor space (100 square feet per child indoors and another 100 square feet outdoors). Second, site planning is needed to provide a positive orientation (in North America, usually facing south). The buildings themselves should be designed to resemble homes instead of schools, with modified open spaces (semi-enclosed rooms and activity areas) instead of self-contained classrooms. Outdoor areas should be modeled after backyards, with resource-rich activity pockets linked by clear circulation. Third, overall building design needs to accommodate mixed-age groups in a village or house plan with a central core. Fourth, group houses, or modified open spaces, and fifth, outdoor activity spaces, which accommodate developmentally appropriate play yards, are also discussed. Illustrations of the design concepts are included. (MDM)

Descriptors: Building Design, Class Activities, Classroom Design, Day Care Centers, Developmentally Appropriate Practices, Early Childhood Education, Educational Facilities Design, Flexible Facilities, Playgrounds, School Size, Spatial Relationship (Facilities)

Autor: Moore, Gary T.


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