Bernard Zell Early Childhood



Winner of the IIDA Chicago RED award for Educational, Pre-K through 12 in 2017

Chicago, Illinois

Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School partnered with Eckenhoff Saunders Architects and Wonder by Design to develop a master plan for an early childhood wing which would create learning opportunities based on the principles of Reggio Emilia Learning Approach. The wing included (7) Pre-k through Kindergarten learning spaces organized around a public corridor which is one of the main thorough-fares through the school as it is located on the first floor adjacent to play fields and elevator which accesses all floors. Because of its central location, the school also wished for the corridor to become a representation of the Early Childhood Community. To activate the corridor as a learning tool, the lockers were cleared and learning nodes took their place. These nodes, created of writable, tackable and magnetic surfaces, were placed at child height to empower students to self-curate the artwork throughout the corridor.  Other nodes formed display areas for students and teachers to place found objects from that day’s learning expedition. Cushioned seating “nooks” were located at the entry point and center for students of all grades to take advantage of small group collaborative learning.