“Play outside” Kindergarten.
usersToddlers, children, teachers, staff
Currently, Sofia lacks enough kindergartens to house all the children of the fast growing city and existing state ones are packed with way more children than the staff can handle. Мost existing kindergartens share some common challenges:
Filter spaces for shoes and coats usually have no direct connection to the outdoor playground, and thus kids and their caregivers circle around corridors and even sometimes the whole building to go outside. Given that every teacher takes care of nearly 30 kids, the whole ritual of going out becomes a nightmare and as a result kids do not play outdoors as much as they should.
For most children the moment of separation from their parents is a negative experience they learn to associate with the kindergarten. Interestingly enough, the same anxiety affects the parents to no lesser degree. What makes it worse is that most kindergartens do not allow them to go inside and make them leave their children at the entrance.
Last but not least, kids spend more waking time in the kindergarten than at home and yet most kindergartens lack a homely feeling. Their traditional scale and form do not relate to children's scale and expectations of a friendly environment.
We specifically designed all of the playrooms on the ground level so that their adjacent filters for coats and shoes have direct access to the group’s outdoor playground. This makes it easier for caregivers to take the children outdoors without the fear of going around the building or losing track of them. Covered playing decks allow kids to play outside even on rainy days.
A vast welcoming social space invites the kids and their parents at the entrance to spend time together before separating from each other. Kids are immediately engaged with the puff swings, climbing hills and a trampoline. The space also serves as a hub for events, right next to the sports hall that opens up to it.
The scale of the building is broken down by introducing the shape of small houses that children usually do when asked to draw a house. The facade facing the street is limited to the height of one floor in order to avoid a first impression of a bulky institution, especially to the kids.
arch. Krassimir Krumov, arch. Zahari Merdzhanov, arch. Ivanka Ivanova, arch. Daniela Slavova, arch. Aneta Slavova