We are the children of the 21st century.
More than ever, we want to feel special but also desperately need to feel part of some kind of group. We see our parents fewer hours than former generations yet know we can get anything we want by the click of a button on our cellphone. It’s important for us to get recognition in social media and sometimes we get a little confused and define ourselves through those platforms.
But don’t underestimate us: Our generation knows how to initiate more than previous generations and we’ll know how to utilize channel technology to make rapid and sweeping changes in the world.
it may be difficult for you to imagine now but trust us—in 20 years’ time, we will be your future!
5 reasons for which educational spaces are important mainly when it comes to infants:
- The first years of our lives are a one-time window of opportunity. Preschools and kindergartens in which children play and learn crucial years of their development are an integral aspect of inspiring learning environments, impacting the way we think, feel, and behave. These early childhood years will also determine what adults we will grow up to be.
- Children as active participants in their curriculum and educational environment -Don’t forget that we’re a different generation than yours; we mastered technology from a young age. You always told us that knowledge is power, well then, keep in mind that acquiring knowledge in our eyes also means that we want to initiate and to be involved in the curriculum. We want to be treated as collaborators, to be part of the decision-making process, even when it comes to developing a design strategy of our preschool/kindergarten.
- Nowadays, more than ever before, we spend most hours of our day in pre-school or kindergarten – our parents usually work full time and since the Trajtenberg rule came into effect, some of us spend all these hours in municipal-run daycares. And what about preschools and kindergartens in Israel? it may surprise you to know they haven’t changed that much that from 40 years ago, when our parents were our age.
- Skills children need in the 21st century – Has it ever occurred to you that most professions of the future don’t yet exist in today’s world? What is obvious are the cognitive, emotional, and social skills that will be required from us children and the architecture/design of the educational space needs to promote these skills.
- Violence, ADD & ADHD – it has been proven that the way the educational environment is planned and designed influences our behavior, capable of reducing violence and improving ADD & ADHD symptoms.
Winds of Change
John F. Kennedy once said that “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
Well, the change has already begun; it’s happening now as we speak, here in Israel and all over the world.
The onset of this change is rooted in the growing understanding that educational environments required rethinking and adjustment to the needs of children in this current era. Architecture and design for children should consider innovative architecture principals for children while concurrently supporting progressive models of acquiring knowledge and different teaching methods.
You can be part of this change and create for our generation of children what you wanted for yourselves as children and more.
10 principles for planning innovative educational spaces.
In my work methodology throughout the years, I have formulated 10 principles for planning innovative educational spaces.
In this series of articles, I will explain these principles, how they affect children, and how to implement them in an educational space:
- Architecture that is fun and exciting – different educational experiences in a variety of learning spaces that encourage curiosity.
- Holistic architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture.
- Modular learning and playing spaces that encourage children to make choices and influence their surroundings.
- Colors & shapes—how to use colors, shapes, and materials academically researched and proven to be effective pedagogical methods.
- Learning spaces that nurture children’s creativity and self-expression.
- Motion and movement – how architecture and design can encourage children to be physically active and sensory regulation.
- Natural and artificial lighting and their effect on children.
- How design effects sociodramatic play and social skills.
- Storage as a key element of planning an educational space.
- Community and multiculturalism – Mixed-used architecture in the urban context.
The Selfish Giant
And there is another important principal, one that isn’t talked about enough in my opinion while being the most important principle of them all – Safety and security!
Architects and designers that plan educational spaces should be thoroughly familiar with safety rules and regulations for architectural design of children’s spaces. They should plan spaces in a way that takes into consideration security issues and protect children and their privacy.
I insist that safety and security are the most important things in my projects, and I hope that there will be increasing awareness to this matter.
Because the most important thing is protecting the lives and the safety of children. The value of life is paramount, and just like in the story The Selfish Giant – the children are those who make the educational space and never cease to amaze me in the original way they breathe life into every place they enter.