- Sacred Spaces Civic Places Event - with CICADA and St. James School
- Come visit us!
- Early Learning Gets Physical
- Architects Action Day 2017
- Shaping the Visitor Experience
- CICADA's Geoff Klein Receives Architectural License!
- Collaborative Firm Volunteer for Mixed-Use Building
- Celebrating 10th PARK(ing) Day Philadelphia
- We're Hiring!
- Kebony's Top 100 Architecture Firm Blogs
- Community Revitalization: How to Bring a Community Back from the Brink, In the Age of Gentrification
- Project HOME's Hub of Hope Doors Open January 2018
- Phase I of Rivera Recreation and Mann Older Adult Center Breaks Ground
- Mary Holland, AIA recently attended the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Summit in Washington, D.C. Here’s her takeaway
- Benchmark School INNOVATION SPACE Groundbreaking
- Dox Thrash House
- We're Hiring!
- Leverage 2018 Sponsorship and Gala!
- Celebrating the Challenge of Difficult Spaces
- NGBS Task Force
- Revitalizing North Central Philadelphia
- Philadelphia University Advancement Council
- Abandoned Woolworth + Leap of Faith = School for City Kids
- How You Make an Impact
- PennDesign Women in Architecture
- Passive House Designers
- Accessibility in Older Buildings
- Quality Child Care Space
- Analyzing Wall Assemblies
- Buildings As Radiators
Quality Child Care Space
What Makes for Quality Child Care Space?
In 2009, researchers in Child Development at St. Joseph’s University were involved in assessing the quality of local child care programs based on the ECERS (Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale), a nationally-recognized standard. The ECERS attempts to apply ratings based on program processes such as teacher ratios, group size and curriculum materials. Missing from that assessment tool, however, was a way to rate the quality of the physical space.
Partnering with researcher Carl Sussman, St. Joseph’s University sought to develop the PEEL (Physical Environments for Early Learning) rating scale to fill this gap. CICADA Architecture/Planning, Inc. was engaged as technical consultant. CICADA has many years of experience analyzing and designing child care centers. The team used a variety of fun tools (light and sound meters, laser tapes) to test, expand and refine the PEEL rating scale. The team visited over 30 local Philadelphia child care centers, and five Boston area sites.
Understanding the nature of physical space is a complicated undertaking, so the measures were organized around four broad attributes: dimensional characteristics, ambiance (thermal, acoustic, light), functionality and relationship to the outdoors.
The results? The best child care spaces have:
- Pleasing proportions and use architecture and lighting to create a variety of scales and settings
- They are quiet
- They have plenty of natural light and a strong connection to the outdoors
- Classrooms have plenty of corners to define distinct activity areas
- Heating and cooling is appropriate and controllable
- Toilets and sinks are plentiful and visible
- Play areas are varied, structured but flexible and incorporate natural elements
Does that sound like the center your children attend? Probably not – the economics of child care in Pennsylvania are very difficult. It’s why child care centers end up in church basements. Touring the sites in Massachusetts, where state funding is available, was a real eye-opener; improved facilities make them more effective learning centers. Aside from the scientific usefulness of the PEEL, we hope that someday this will also affect Pennsylvania public policy.