Students experience early childhood learning where color and play is celebrated. BRW Architects partnered with DISD to open its first standalone Early Childhood Center. Studies have shown that the earlier children learn the more likely they succeed later in life. 90% of human brain development happens before age 5. Therefore, waiting until Kindergarten to start teaching our kids is already too late. The ECC gives underserved students the opportunity for free public education as early as three years old. Outdoor play, indoor play, flexible space, distributed dining, connection to the outside…are integral to providing a positive early learning experience.
The design of the Anne Frank ECC is intended to inspire and uplift students and teachers, while maintaining a timeless architectural character. The Anne Frank namesake inspired the design concept of Color and Light. Understanding that young children learn experientially, BRW planned the school around active learning spaces, with ample views to the outdoors.
The classroom building is shifted around a central Commons that is flooded with natural daylight from above. The Commons provides opportunities for indoor play in bad weather and has direct access to the playground area for group play or a smaller-scaled garden for quiet outdoor learning. The exterior façade uses color and form to greet students each day. The drop-off canopy is accented by cheery-yellow pylons, while a large front porch trellis creates playful shadows. A bright orange tower flanks the entry door and serves as a sky lit reading nook within the collaborative classroom. With various types of learning spaces, both inside and outside, the children at Anne Frank ECC will have a great jumpstart towards elementary school. “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world” – Anne Frank.
*photos by Parrish Ruiz de Velasco