Creating a New Early Learning Environment? Learn how to navigate the design and construction of educational environments for Pre-K students

Melissa McFadgen, Architect

Barbara Sattler, Early Learning Program Director 

NAC; Central Valley School District 

Domains: Context, Parameters, Process

Course Level: Expert

Learning Units: 1 LU

Room: A601

Friday, October 27, 2017 @ 9:00 am


Are you thinking about renovating a building to create additional classrooms for preschool programs? Perhaps building an Early Learning Center from scratch? Join us for an open and inspiring discussion about transforming a vacant grocery store into a new, 25-classroom early learning center and alternative high school, the lessons learned along the way and the overall design and construction sequencing needed to avoid hurdles and delays. The current landscape for early childhood education is dynamic and difficult to navigate, with many agencies vying for input and minimal funding resources available for capital and operational management. Yet the data is irrefutable. Research continually reinforces the importance of investing in students early, with the maximum benefit gained when access to education is achieved before Kindergarten. Early intervention is the most predictable course to redirect a student’s educational career and provide the groundwork for lifelong educational achievement. Washington State is seen as a national leader for funding and implementing Pre-K educational programs. While each state has unique jurisdictional and licensing requirements, the principals of high quality early learning design remain consistent across borders and tend to fall at the feet of school districts. With this ever-increasing pressure on school districts to provide early learning, creative options must be explored to ensure adequate space and funding is provided to support the early learning needs without negatively impacting the education of the traditional K-12 students. Whether you are considering a new or renovated center, this session will provide essential information to start the planning and development of an early learning environment to ensure future success for all of your community’s early learners. It will share information on how two diverse programs, an alternate high school and early learning center, can blend programs and create a synergy beneficial to all students within the building. And will demonstrate creative, flexible educational spaces that will serve these two unique programs today and for many future students.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Gain knowledge on strategies used to collaborate with stakeholders at all ends of the design, educational and construction spectrum.  
  2. Understand the primary differences between the design of an early learning center and an elementary school.
  3. Develop a proactive approach to early learning design to eliminate detours and delays.
  4. Provide lessons learned for the adaptive reuse of a grocery store into an educational facility.