RDG Planning & Design

Room for Kids

RDG Planning & Design
October 2012



Room for Kids is an eye-opening forum for us to share helpful tips from the work we provide to various early education organizations. As a multi-disciplinary architecture and design firm, RDG understands that each space for children has different needs, and within this newsletter you will find that we continuously work to provide the best services that reach across the early education spectrum.

Engaging Interiors


Inspiring a child to become engaged in their educational program is essential for success. This engagement in learning is vital to the development of children especially in the earliest years of their life.  A child’s interaction can be cultivated in several ways, but the influence of their surrounding environment can be a partner for success.  A nurturing environment provides a response to four fundamental needs of young children: movement, comfort, competence and control. Providing for the combination of these attributes encourages confidence in children, willing them to participate in the program and with their classmates.  There are key design and furnishing considerations that can help to ensure you are responding to all four of these needs in your center.

Read the Article: Engaging Early Learning Interiors, By RDG Planning & Design’s Ed Buglewicz.

On the Boards: Educare of Winnebago

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Educare's most recent neighborhood of influence is happening in the humble culture and community of the Winnebago tribe. Our Early Education team immersed themselves with the Ho-Chunk people, culture and history through books, museums and most importantly listening to the community and elders. These experiences helped us develop a design concept that is sensitive and reflective of their community and culture. Through this discovery two influential themes emerged: path and earth.
Path signifies the Winnebago tribe’s split from the other Siouan tribes (off the Wisconsin coast of Lake Michigan)  and began their path as a single tribe. Through their path the tribe began to refine their customs, speech, music, storytelling, and maxims, all which make Winnebago what it is today. Along this path the Earth theme is cultivated, as a respect and dependence on the earth became vital to the existence of the Ho-Chunk people. Their history can be seen through the earthwork that they sculpted along their path. The three types of earthwork were the conical mound, linear mound and effigy mound.
These themes of earth and path evolved into a concept specific to the Educare Winnebago project: Earth//Path : Nurture through Nature. The development and nurturing of the child is the focus of both the early education program and its built environment. Through this importance of earth and path,  nature becomes an element in which the architecture is defined and program is delineated. A path through the site and building is defined by nature and framed through the architecture. The extrusion of earth and earth manipulation sites the building in nature and its’ surroundings.
The planning of the Educare School carefully considers the approach to the school and its placement is purposefully engaged with the earth. Surrounded by sculpted earthwork the pathway processes through the site to a compressed entry and leads individuals into a welcoming and naturally-illuminated atrium of the building.  The atrium becomes the communal hearth with cultural artwork will represent the tribe and culture.

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Team Member Spotlight


Cary Thomsen is a Landscape Architect with the Early Education team at RDG. He creates outdoor environments that foster the relationship between indoor and outdoor spaces. The outdoor environments he designs are based on natural elements and connecting those elements with the design concept of the building. During his childhood, he would help his parents plant a vegetable garden in the backyard every year. One year he planted rows of sweet corn. He did this because he played baseball in the backyard and wanted to emulate the baseball field he saw in the movie Field of Dreams. “I guess this was my first experience in landscape architecture, creating an outdoor environment from a concept.” Cary has a Bachelors degree in Horticulture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Masters degree in Landscape Architecture from Kansas State University. In Cary’s free time he enjoys golfing, running, drawing and the outdoors.

Cary worked on Educare Winnebago, as well as Educare of Washington DC.


What do you think?

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POLL: What is your perspective on the direct sunlight that shines into your classroom?

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UPCOMING ISSUE:  In our spring issue of Room For Kids we will explore ways to engage young minds in a Green, sustainable environment. 

Other Happenings

2012 NAEYC Annual Conference & Expo
November 7-10, Atlanta, GA; RDG booth #1651 - Come see us!

Zero to Three—National Training Institute: Leading Edge Early Childhood Science, Policy and Practice
November 28-December 1, Los Angeles, CA

Chicago Metro AEYC Opening Minds Conference—Teach more, Teach Less
January 23-26, 2013, Chicago, IL

Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference 2013
March 1-2, 2013, Denver, CO


::: Pass It On

Send us your suggestions on things that you would like to see addressed in our twice-annual newsletter: earlylearning@rdgusa.com 

We also encourage you to share this newsletter with friends, co-workers and other persons that you believe may be interested in the topics we cover.

::: Explore RDG Early Learning Projects --> http://rdgusa.com/markets/early-learning

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