I am proud to share the most touching project in our office:
Preschool for blind and visually impaired children – ELIA foundation
This heart-arming project is designed for children ages of 6 months – 5 years old in 3 different classrooms. Kids who cannot see naturally evolve their other senses.
The object as to create an empowering, evolving and teaching environment that by the time they reach the age of 6, they will be able to get into normative learning structures and not fall behind.
My first stage at designing this structure was to really understand the blind people world. Whether by research, meeting with older blind people, talking to social workers and other professionals.
For the second stage, I began designing the many functions for the kids, used by the parents and by the treating staff members. 3 big classrooms were designed, as each classroom is meant to be used by a different age group, and has a playing and eating areas. Each section defined by a different color and texture for the kids to be able to differentiate between them. Each classroom has a small room equipped with a window, for the parents to be able to watch the kids’ activity. Moreover, each classroom is equipped with a kitchen, toilet and a low sink compatible for kids. The kids get around using specially designed walking canes (especially the little ones who are just learning to walk). Therefore,, in order to make it easy for them to move around the classroom space, unlike regular kindergarten, this one has an entirely open space and all the games are attached to the walls.
In addition, 2 special dark rooms were built. The first called snoozlan, and designed as a special treatment room including waterbed, ball pit and beanbag. This room has the technology that stimulates sharpening of vision and touching senses.
The other room is a dark room that contains one of the finest technology network to examine seeing abilities, brail printer, brail computers, lighting posts and water to stimulate the vision sense.
Furthermore, this kindergarten contains computerized treatments rooms with an attached kitchen, and a main kitchen to provide for all the kids’ needs throughout the day. Also, a padded sports room along the walls with mobile barriers, allowing splitting the room in 2.
Every detail, corner, smell, color and texture were given top priority to allow the kids to grow.
The parents uses this hall to enter
Designed for kids between the ages of 3-5 years. The classroom is divided into 3 area: dining area – including small tables and chairs from wood and a kitchen.
The playing area
The entry area
Lighting as a central motive in the snoozlan and dark rooms
Touching and feeling elements:
* Orange railing with a touch & feel pads.
* Different textures and bold colors surfaces on the floors
* Huge aquarium on the floor allowing the kids to touch the glass and try following the fish