ECCD Centers

Early Childhood Care and Development Centers

Year: 2012-2014
Client: Plan International
Size: 300sqm
Cost: 30.000$ - 100$/sqm 

  
    Nyabyondo ECCD Center, 2013

  
    front porch of stimulation room

  
    participatory approach

  
    materials production on site

  
    demonstration kitchen

The veranda is the project’s core element – the result of extensive research into avail­able resources and climate, as well as the community’s social background and tra­ditions. It fosters important childhood socialization, in addition to interaction amongst all inhabitants. From the outset, all community members, parents, teach­ers and children of all ages have been ex­cited by the potential of the space, which can be used year round. Inside the main room, the design is organized to enhance the diversity and flexibility of different cor­ners and activities, each with its own relat­ed qualities and furniture. The space is di­vided into wet and dry areas. A water point lies close to one of the two entrances – to be used after crafts or outside play, and to teach hygiene and sanitation. A second door connects the interior space with the veranda and outdoor playground.
The center’s efficiency and sustainabil­ity are achieved through the use of lo­cally sourced materials – contributing to the village economy – and the creation of successful meeting spaces. All village members, despite a strong culture of pri­vacy, are able to use it throughout the day and night, due to the use of solar powered lights and access to water. The structure is built with locally produced fired bricks, and assembled with Flemish bonds and vertical reinforcement bars to improve stability and avoid the use of concrete. The brick pattern and multiple openings of varying size and heights contribute to the sensorial stimulation and learning of small children, while providing natu­ral lighting and cross ventilation. 

  
    Nemba ECCD stimulation room, 2016

  
    Demonstration kitchen used for nutrition trainings, 2015


The Rwandan government launched its Early Childhood Development policy in December 2010, ‘to combat ignorance and illiteracy, and to provide human re­sources useful for the socio-economic development of Rwanda through the edu­cation system’. The architectural implica­tions of this statement led us to realize that whilst Early Childhood Development centers are building types for which great need exists, this is coupled with the reality of relatively little local experience. At the same time, like any other modification of the environment with such strong social significance, they need to be integrated carefully with the physical and cultural landscape of a place.
The design of the Early Childhood De­velopment Centers for Plan International in the southern Bugesera district aim to provide small rural villages with a facil­ity that stimulates the different senses of its young users, while also engaging the whole community and providing a valu­able collective resource. The scheme is the result of lengthy research, which began in 2011 and was refined for over 12 months prior to construction.
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