Re-designing daycare facilities for better usability by preschoolers

“...for the State to promote the rights of children to survival, development and special protection with full recognition of the nature of childhood and its special needs; and to support parents in their roles as primary caregivers and as their children's first teachers.” - Government of the Philippines

Childcare holds special and important place in the Philippines. Daycare or center-based early childhood programs are a priority in the country, but they have great room for improvement. In Marikina City alone there are 38 daycare facilities that serve the city’s over 450,000 residents. Of the 38 facilities, 22 are accredited by the Department of Social Welfare and Development Regional Office and only 13 centers are in government facilities.

Key issues

  • Facilities, amenities, safety: Daycare centers have limited space, which is an obstacle to overcome when providing a safe environment for infants to children through the age of five. Some centers are housed in government facilities, others are in open spaces, but most centers exist in residential lots. Often daycare centers lack restrooms or playgrounds designed for use by children. There is an even more urgent need to find a solution for centers that don’t have kitchens safely equipped for a food program (e.g. proper ventilation, structurally sound locations of the kitchen).
  • Wellbeing of daycare teachers: Classroom manager, caretaker, administrator, janitor-- this is just a short list of the many roles that daycare teachers take on. There is a need to help facilitate the wellbeing of teachers while on the job, so that they can better engage and build relationships with children, parents, and guardians.
  • Limited resources: Daycare teachers and parents generally work today to source learning materials, toys and food for the children. This is a system that works well, but is not fool-proof in ensuring a consistent flow of resources that will aide in long-term child development.

Key questions

  • How can centers be re-designed or adapted to better facilitate their use by children, teachers and parents? How can they be made safer and how can they encourage organic learning?
  • In what ways can daycare centers be re-thought so that they become a place of comfort for children and daycare teachers?
  • Given limited resources, is there a way to re-design daycare centers so that they are built for meaningful learning even without traditional learning materials?

This challenge is best suited for

  • Designer
  • Architect
  • Early education expert
  • Other

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