Envisioning our Early Childhood Campus

By Kate Cicchelli
Co-founder, Principal, Chief Academic Officer

On September 10, 2013, the Bennett Day School executive team gathered with our architecture team at Epstein for our first Visioning Session for our Early Childhood Campus at 657 West Fulton.

We started with a word association exercise, which asked us to consider where we fell on a spectrum between two adjectives–for example, Playful/Serious, Whimsical/Sophisticated, and Transparent/Opaque.  They also showed us a series of images of interior and exterior spaces and asked us to share our immediate responses to design, color, light.  Through these exercises, many months of conversations about the Bennett Day School approach, and even attending aFamily Information Session, our wonderful team of architects which includes John Kolb, Mark Fischer, Linda Kanoski, andTom Samuels, created a design approach unique to the Bennett Day School Early Childhood Campus.

Epstein Design Mission
To design an educational environment that exemplifies the Reggio Emilia approach of fostering the natural development of children from a child’s perspective.  Students will thrive in a sensory experience that nourishes a profound understanding of the word around them. Bright open spaces and clear lines of sight will energize young hearts while smaller books will provide quiet moments for young minds to re-center.  Textured and interactive surfaces will inspire tactile curiosity, while modular workspaces will empower students to transform their surroundings.  A neutral and balanced voice will guide the color palette, finishes, and spatial experiences to create an environment that is a healthy backdrop for learning.

Our Innovative Space
Five months later, we have started construction and are proud to share with our families some images of the final design of our space:

Reception Area

Our Early Childhood Campus has been designed to meet the needs of 21st Century Learning – It will be bright and open, responsive, modular, flexible, clean, and beautiful

Tinker Lab

Our spaces will be responsive to the needs of the community, and clean, like a blank canvas that does not overwhelm students with intense color and exaggerated scale.

We designed our classroom spaces with the intent of engaging students with texture, providing clear lines of sight across and into spaces beyond, and having access to abundant sunlight.