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Due to changing social and economic trends, enrollment in child care has become customary for the large majority of children under the age of five in the U.S. Although the importance of the early years has slowly begun to gain more recognition, early childhood development and education is still not viewed as the imperative societal issue that it demands. As the widespread environment for raising children in the U.S. has gradually moved from the informal atmosphere of the home to the formal settings of a child care center, the impact of the built environment on children’s development has often been overlooked. Brain research indicates that children are born ready to learn, while absorbing every aspect of their environment.
Place [for] the children is a graduate design thesis that explores the relationship between children and architecture asking the question, how can architecture serve as an educational aid in early learning? The intent was to create a multisensory environment in which the architecture, playing an integral role in the educational process, fosters experiential learning. The goal was to help children learn how to learn, while provoking discovery and promoting creative thinking. This project is an investigation into how early childhood design can be rethought, redefining a daycare center as an educational facility in which children learn through interactions and experiences, stemming from their environment.