Space has the ability to provide a sense of community, well-being, and belonging to all the people – large and small – who enter it. Very young children are particularly influenced, either positively or negatively, by the environment around them - and even small improvements to a space can have a positive impact. Earlier this year we launched a pilot for our
Infant and Toddler Interior Design Interventions program. This program focused on making small, incremental changes to a space in an effort to improve the physical environment in ways that will support and bolster program quality.
One site in particular, Busy Bees Academy in Warwick, did not have child-level views to the outside, often creating other issues in the classroom. Because of the children's desire to peak outside they would often stack and climb on toys, making it an unsafe environment that would require much teacher intervention. Many solutions were discussed, including lowering the window, replacing with a door, or creating a new elevated space for viewing. In the end Busy Bees added a raised platform and the changes have been pretty dramatic - and not in the most obvious ways. One of the biggest changes has been with language development. They call out all the parents' names when they see them, they talk about and watch the weather, and they look for trucks and buses. Cooperative play has dramatically improved too. The children take turns looking out and soon they will be installing a bird feeder. Behavior has improved because it provides another zoned space, and allows for more to explore! We can't wait to share more of our small changes!