2012-2018 EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION DESIGN CONFERENCE CO-FOUNDER - CLICK HERE TO VISIT ECE CONFERENCE WEBSITE
COMMITMENT TO GETTING IT RIGHT
In 2008 Alan Ford, while working on the design of an early childhood facility was surprised by the lack of resources available to support research based design decisions for ECE facilities. Using his background in design conference planning, he along with Heather Eversley and Ken Clifton, began the process of creating an event solely focused on promoting best practices for designing early childhood facilities. The first conference took place in 2012 followed by ones in 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2018. The event is curated around bringing together a blend of scientists, medical doctors, researchers, educators and practicing architects/landscape architects/ interior designers. Speakers have come from the mainly from the United States but have also traveled from as far away as Australia, Germany, and Denmark, for the purpose of sharing knowledge and fostering the exchange of ideas on how to design high performance learning environments for early learners. The associated website http://earlychildhooddesign.com/ provides attendees with content from the events. Also on the website is the latest in ECE news, related videos and research papers created solely for early childhood designs knowledge sharing mission.
The conference attracts facility managers, ECE owner and operators, educators, and designers nationally and internationally. It remains the only enduring forum specifically focused on understanding the relationship of optimized learning and the environment where learning occurs. With nine years of focused research, uncovering salient thought leaders in early learning environments, while highlighting the best research-informed early childhood facilities, Alan has acquired a unique and holistic understanding of what to do and not to do in early learning settings.
Through his own work designing early childhood facilities Alan has found innovative ways to apply this in depth knowledge.
- Understanding the role of light wave length on a child’s health
- The importance of the environment supporting the teacher’s needs – happy teachers are more equipped to nurture and engage students in a positive manner
- The design needs to allow and support parent engagement.
- Positive socialization, nurture and a healthy environment can impact neuro development and brain size
- The need for multi-sensory learning
- Biophilia and the role of nature in learning and cognitive development
- The mind-body connection and the role of movement in fostering overall health and proper brain function for learning
- The need for play and the benefits of risk taking in play
- Room color, pattern and acoustics do matter. Sensory overload causes stress and inhibits learning and development.
- According to Brain scientist Dr. John Medina, color does influence mood and there is an innate need for opportunities for social engagement and refuge
- Design needs to support the pedagogy.
- Opportunities for engaging the environment as the “Third Teacher”
- How to address the unique requirements of safety and security in ECE Centers
DIVERSE SPEAKERS AND AUDIENCE
“As a public children’s library manager, I learned so much at the Early Childhood Design Conference in October 2012. I was gratified to see so many architects and designers interested in best practices for working with very young children. Judy Harris Helm, as keynote speaker, set the stage by filling us in on how young children’s brains work and how we can help shape intellectual ability using the right environment. Speakers were knowledgeable and presented a wide variety of information about contemporary early childhood spaces. I enjoyed being a part of the thought provoking discussions that followed the sessions. As our library transitions to an emphasis on parental involvement with very young children, we plan to take a lot of the ideas gleaned from this conference and turn them into reality!”
- Lesley Clayton
Manager of Children's Library Services
Mamie Doud Eisenhower Public Library
“In 2013 I had the distinct pleasure of attending the Early Childhood Education Design Conference. To the best of my knowledge, this conference (in its third year) is the only conference devoted to bringing architects/designers and early childhood development specialist together to discuss best practice and model examples of the design of early learning facilities. It is a unique gathering of professionals dedicated to better understanding the design needs of our youngest learners, and it was a delight to attend.”
-Walter S. Gilliam, PhD
Director of Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy
“Thank you for hosting such a wonderful and successful ECE Design Conference. The quality of the speakers and information presented were excellent and the networking events provided an outstanding atmosphere for conference members to interact and to get to know each other”
Denver Early Childhood Council
“Still feeling the inspiration from the conference – thanks so much for all your efforts and hard work to put that together! What a nice reminder of how important it is to get out of the office, learn new things, meet new people and get re-inspired/reminded about creating places of beauty, not just invoicing, contract language, meeting coordination, etc.”
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