Remodeling daycare rooms

Pedagogues get their dream day care center if they can formulate their spatial ideas in a comprehensible manner and are able to represent them well to planners. Architect Theo Härtner von Häuser for Kinder in Stuttgart had this experience. He encourages day care teams to develop their own spatial visions and thus to provide the planning experts with guidelines.

At some point the nicest day care center building and the best equipment will get old and changes are coming. If the wearer gives the green light, the daycare management and team are asked to consider: “How to ask we us our buildings ideally before? What should the rooms look like in the future? " Architect Theo Härtner, managing director of Häuser für Kinder GmbH, which specializes in building, converting and equipping daycare centers, advises daycare teams to take enough time to answer these questions. "It’s worth it. Because if you can show what is important for the redesign, you will be rewarded with a day care center whose rooms optimally support your own educational work, ”says the specialist.

Finding answers: a challenge

However, it is usually not easy for educators to answer the question of how the rooms should look in the future. Most builders feel the same way. This is not surprising, because suddenly there is something that is usually always available. The task is complex and the imagination is often not enough to imagine how it will work if the structural framework or the equipment are changed.

Participation: Include all users

In addition to the educators, it is mainly the children but also the parents who use the daycare rooms. It is therefore sensible and in the sense of participatory pedagogy even required to involve these groups in the gathering of ideas and decision-making when redesigning the premises. The girls and boys, like the pedagogues, can paint and craft desired images of their “scope”. The parents certainly have suggestions for the ambience that they would like to have in delivery and pick-up situations or during parent discussions and evenings.

It is important to take all ideas seriously, to discuss them and to develop a “line” out of them. In discussions with the construction experts, representatives of the children and parents could contribute their points of view.

Draw, tinker, build dream daycare rooms

Theo Härtner encourages daycare teams to develop spatial visions for daycare work. In this way, educators can make good use of the creativity that they often bring with them. “They imagine different aspects of their work and create spaces in which they would like to implement them. They make drawings or collages or build paper models of their ideal surroundings. The real circumstances, such as existing rooms, the available budget or the technical feasibility, are disregarded, ”explains the architect. When discussing the suggestions, the question of the interaction of pedagogical concept and interior design arises almost automatically. Could certain aspects of pedagogical work be implemented better if the room layout, use or design were different? What if the daycare enabled completely new spatial experiences? Exciting questions. Answering them can result in setting priorities: the more relevant an idea is for the implementation the educational Conception is, the more important it is to implement it.

visionary >Certainly not every visionary idea can be put into practice. For example, it is difficult to transform a daycare center interior into a palm beach. It is therefore important to consider what advantages the dream ambience offers. For example, it leaves a lot of space to run around, the floor is soft and customizable, the atmosphere is cozy, the temperatures are pleasant, everyone can walk barefoot, nothing can break. Which of these aspects are particularly important to the team and what possibilities are there to translate them into a feasible room design?

How others do it?

"Experience has shown that it is helpful to visit other daycare centers, to be inspired by their interiors and to take suggestions with them," says Theo Härtner. "It makes sense to select daycare centers that pursue a comparable educational concept and that place great emphasis on interior design that supports their work".

Represent your own wishes

The daycare directors and teams then generally succeed in naming their wishes for their own daycare and concretizing them further in dialogue with architects. "We notice the difference," reports Theo Härtner. “Through this process, the educators have gained a holistic view of the redesign of their daycare. You know what your goals are with the Track change. You can list what the entrance area, functional, group, sanitary and staff rooms should do and what atmosphere you would like there. Thanks to our expertise and experience, we are able to let these wishes take shape. ”.

Use the expertise of the construction experts

Because the construction experts know how to create a certain atmosphere with color, light and material. Or they make rooms flexibly usable, for example by means of platforms with pull-outs, folding walls, curtains or mobile furniture, and thus meet different requirements even in a limited area. In addition, they develop solutions for specific everyday challenges – for example, to counter the confusion that arises in fully hung cloakrooms. "In such cases, we often design tailor-made furniture: for example, there is so much space behind the bench that the mud pants that hang on the rake disappear behind it instead of covering the seating area at the front," explains Theo Härtner. An own furniture line has already been created from many such solutions.

Make a big impact on a small budget

In some cases, the daycare remodeling has a very limited budget. However, this is no reason to think “small” from the start. “In any case, it is important to open the big conceptual arc. This is the only way to use the limited resources optimally and to bring about a change that can be felt positively in everyday life, ”explains Theo Härtner and reports from a children’s home that a competition was held among students in order to generate innovative ideas for virtually free of charge to preserve the redesign of two interconnected daycare rooms. The fact that one of the suggestions corresponded exactly to their ideas and was then implemented was also thanks to the team’s precise description of their expectations of the room duo.

Tip: stay persistent

For the discussions with the planners and the authorities, Theo Härtner gives the educators and those responsible for the institution an important tip: “Don’t be satisfied with compromises too quickly! If one aspect is really important to you, it is worth fighting for. If you can give plausible reasons for your spatial ideas, you have a good chance of overcoming resistance. ".


It is not only architects’ task to optimally design daycare rooms. Only if the users formulate in an understandable way what expectations they have of the rooms can construction experts live up to their expectations. Houses-for-children managing director Theo Härtner suggests daycare teams to develop a common room vision in a workshop and – regardless of existing rooms and requirements – answer the question of which room layout and what equipment best suits the educational work would support. Visits to other daycare centers can then be a source of inspiration for your own design ideas. With this, the team is developing guidelines for the architectural implementation, which concretize all those involved in the dialogue and on which the planning process can be based. The time spent pays off for the educators. They receive day care rooms in which they like to work well.


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Christina Cherry
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