Day Care Environments
(click to enlarge)
Model of E.R.U at West 4th St. Church Day Care Center
Parents building E.R.U. at West 4th St.
Campaign HQ day care environment made from carpet rolls
McCall's Magazine
Family Circle Magazine
United Communities Day Care Center
Kids visit the CCNY Arch. school lobby.
Tri-wall playscape in the Children's Mansion parlor.
'Ladderpillar' allows safe climbing to loft in the Children's Mansion.
Ladders provide support for a day care center multi-use structure in a former pizza parlor.

At the time we were starting Schoolworks, the Women's Movement was creating a huge demand for child care funded by the programs of Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society". Studies were coming out every week about the importance of early education. Sesame Street became a world wide phenomenon. Head Start built large urban preschools and small community groups and individuals were setting up their own day care centers in church basements and living rooms, most of them with very little money to spend on furnishings.

In this context, we focussed our efforts on affordable, innovative day care environments that parents and teachers could make themselves, bypassing the expensive and creatively limited commercial choices offered in catalogues. Here are some highlights:

Educational Facilities Laboratory funded a project at CCNY where students designed "environmental resource units" (E.R.U.'s) for four local community day care centers.

We built a day care facility for a campaign headquarters with a budget of $200 - published in Progressive Architecture magazine.

Two women's magazines commissioned us to design do-it-yourself environments using recycled and cheap materials for articles on starting child care centers. Instructions were made available.

We exhibited tri-wall cardboard play structures and the results of the E.F.L. grant for the Day Care Consultation Service at Bank Street College and secretly built a demonstration tri-wall environment in the lobby of the CCNY School of Architecture over the winter vacation. Variations of these experiments were installed in day care centers like the Children's Mansion where we exchanged them for room and board in its attic.

Architect Bob Mangurian of Studio Works designed an award-winning day care building for United Communities of Brooklyn using ideas he developed with Schooworks to texture the interior.