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Early Childhood Education: Designing for Imagination, Creativity, and Fun

Success in education is heavily influenced by many factors. As Architects are learning, the early years of childhood development are where students gain the most experience and confidence.

Students at all levels, especially in the early formative years are more emotionally influenced and driven when the learning process is engaging and fun. This will set their trend in the life-long learning approach to education.

Schools created and designed to promote an engaging teaching and learning process, give Teachers and Students spaces and places to be flexible, thus stimulating higher levels of achievement in Early Childhood Education.

In most traditional classroom settings, there are “spaces” which limit creativity because they are designed as inflexible spaces. Instead, we should create flexible “places” where students can de-centralized, form collaborations, and experience accomplishment in “project-based” outcomes. Simply put, use learning and knowledge to innovate, create, and produce. As evidenced in watching children play, kids easily create and adapt to using their imaginations. Architects need to design places where imagination can flourish, and kids can explore their ideas, independently and cooperatively.

Administrators, Teachers, and Parents should expect Architects to produce spaces for Teachers and Learners to be creative and collaborative while allowing students to plan their settings. This promotes imagination and fun in the learning process and helps students develop the confidence and skills they will depend on their whole lives.

The traditional Media Center is rapidly being replaced with a centralized “Learning Commons.” Traditional concepts of the “Library or Media Center” have been replaced by active and collaborative teaching and learning spaces where students can go to “do stuff”. Creativity, production, and team-building skills are the wave of the future.

Teachers and Students can actively engage in these spaces where Teaching and Learning is FUN. Many of these same principles should be applied in the classroom design, where the flexibility of space also promotes both active and passive learning opportunities.

Learning today cannot be memorizing facts and figures…that knowledge exists in the palm of our hands.

Learning needs to be creatively and collaboratively applying vast knowledge and imagination to creative problem-solving. That is the future. Lead, follow or get out of the way.


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