School Design to Employ Learning Theory
(03/30/2011)

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — Svigals + Partners, a full service architecture and planning firm, was recently selected to design the new Goodwin College Early Childhood Magnet School, which will employ a theory-based approach to the design.

The planned 34,000-square-foot, single-story facility for the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes in East Hartford will be designed to accommodate a total of 240 children by the New Haven, Conn.-based firm, led by Barry Svigals, principal in charge.

The design philosophy is based on the Reggio Emilia Approach to early childhood education, which includes children as active participants and requires they have control over their learning.

The approach also considers the school environment’s role, both indoor and outdoor, as the third educator after the teacher and parent, and that children must be able to learn through sensory experiences of touching, moving, listening, seeing, and hearing.

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To incorporate the ideas into the design, the school will be organized around a main gathering space known as the “Atelier,” with four classroom pods accessible from the center point.

The building will incorporate native landscaping, and eco-friendly materials throughout the facility and play areas.

The landscape of the site will also include organic elements to provide “an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere highlighting the beauty of the natural world," a part of the approach.

The building will be designed to meet the LEED for Schools Silver standard, and will support Goodwin College’s Early Childhood Education Program by allowing teachers in training to observe children in the particular classroom setting.

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