What will this new building have that our current building lacks?
There are so many wonderful things about our new facility. For example:
- All of the classes will be on one level, which is going to make the indoor/outdoor spaces easier to navigate, especially for our younger children.
- The building will be split into an Infant/Toddler wing and a Preschool wing, fostering collaboration, sharing of materials and connection to each other.
- The older children (B, C and D) will be able to access the playground directly from their rooms. This reinforces our vision of the environment as the “third teacher,” affording our children the opportunity to use the outside area as an additional learning space. The building will also have an overhanging lip so that, even in inclement weather, children can still enjoy some outdoor activities.
- Many of our classrooms will be connected. A door between rooms of children of a similar age will foster a sense of community and collaboration between children as well as teachers. They will also share certain materials, which will promote greater efficiency. We’re still working on which rooms will be linked.
- There will be several shared spaces. We are very excited to have a dedicated library, as well as an art room for extended special projects.
- For the first time, we will have a lactation room.
- We will have a conference room and separate administrative offices.
- We will also have a reception desk, with only one entry point to the building. Your swipe card access will remain the same.
- Our new building will have more light: in the classrooms, in the hallways, and in the shared rooms. We plan to incorporate the learning environment into our long and light-filled hallways to intrigue the children as they travel along.
Does UNOW have space for research on child development?
Yes. The new UNOW building has a room dedicated to university-approved research studies on early child development by the Princeton Baby Lab. Students and staff working with Dr. Casey Lew-Williams — a former UNOW parent and a faculty member in Psychology — will be conducting short and fun studies on language development, social development, and cognitive development. The goal of this partnership is to support undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs conducting research on learning in young children, to enrich the educational environment of UNOW children, and to inform parents and teachers about ways to promote learning in the first years of life. The Princeton Baby Lab would very much appreciate your involvement in their important research. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com if you have questions.
Will there be an opportunity to meet the architect and learn about the special features of the new facility?
There will be a town hall meeting on December 13 at 7pm to discuss the new facility. We have invited Maryann Thompson of Maryann Thompson Architects to attend.
How does the new facility address energy needs and environmental sustainability?
The new center will have the following sustainability features:
- Stormwater management
- Sustainable material selection
- Photovoltaic solar panels
- Energy-efficient HVAC system and controls
- Low-flow plumbing fixtures
- High performance exteriors.
Will the classrooms open directly onto outside play areas, and (if so) will the older children be free to run/play in and out at will - or will they only be allowed outside collectively, at set times, as at present?
From A Class onwards, children will be able to access the playground directly from their rooms. Giving children the ability to make their own decisions about whether they are inside or outside is a wonderful psychological bonus, and we want to empower the children with choices. We will find ways to foster a free flow while also maintaining careful supervision.
How will adequate shade and sun protection be ensured for the children before all the newly planted trees are fully-grown?
This is very important. Even though the highest sun point of the day is during naptime, we are still looking at various temporary shade options, such as drape cloths. The University has selected the most shade-providing trees for the playground, so sun protection will not be a problem once the trees are fully-grown.
Will there be an outdoor garden area for the children?
Yes. We are still working with the University on the precise design.
Will there be stroller and bike storage?
Yes, we will continue to provide bicycle, scooter and stroller parking. We are still working on what this will look like.
Can we see the plans anywhere?
Yes, you can find them in Susan’s office for now. We are working on getting the plans online and having paper copies up in the reception, too. Photos of the construction updates are posted on the UNOW website.