Childern's Underground Day Care Center
(click to enlarge)
Task lightning - snacking, being the task at the moment
Making a cake on a fold down table
One classroom section
Reading loft also stabilizes the framework "thick wall"
One section outfitted with gym mats for active play
Child care center plan

A common problem faced by day care centers actually occupying found spaces like church basements, as opposed to just playing in them, is the weekly disappearing act; making way for church and community function.

Here we solved it by dividing the large open space into small classroom with movable, wood frame, "thick walls". Using 2x3's and painted plywood, we built 3-D grids on wheels and made them stable by connecting them to ledger strips on the all walls with triangular shelf/lofts. The ledgers supported reversible panels for pin-up, chalkboard, pegboards and other storage units. Each classroom section had a few folding tables attached to the frames for eating and art. All the seats and equipment was stored in the frames, which were folded against the walls on weekends. Cheap, clip-on lighting was used so that the harsh fluorescent lights could be turned off during quiet times of the hectic day.

This day care environment was built by the teachers over 30 years ago and cost less than $300 in materials. It still exists today under about 20 coats of paint, an Upper West Side tradition.