Vivvi’s flagship campus construction is well underway with a planned late spring opening. The design of and buildout of our space is being led by Carol Gretter of eleven of eleven Architecture. The following blog includes information about our design process as well as the key features of the space. If you would like to see a full fly through, please join us at an upcoming parent event.
About our 75 Varick Street Center
The center will accommodate 90 students and is designed to be an integral part of our robust program for infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children. Our first campus will serve as a base from which we can develop and grow our understanding of how physical design can foster inquiry and serve as a forum for parent education and faculty development.
Our school design is defined by:
I. PRIME AND ACCESSIBLE LOCATION
Location was key when choosing Vivvi's flagship site. Proximity to public transportation, neighborhood residences, and places of work is crucial for families when selecting a school . The 75 Varick Street location affords our families with an exclusive entrance on Canal Street and easy access to public transportation on:
The 1, A, C, E, N, R, & Q subway lines.
The M55, M21, & M20 bus lines
II. NATURAL LIGHT
With south facing 19' high windows, all 8 of our classrooms are flooded with natural light. In addition, we took great care to design learning spaces that could channel the light depending on the time of day and the activities in which the children are engaged.
III. USE-INFORMED & INQUIRY-BASED DESIGN
Before space design commenced, the team mapped daily, weekly, and formative use cases from the perspectives of children, parents, and faculty. We did not compromise on any aspect of programming that we felt was essential for all of our key stakeholders. As a result, what you will find when you walk into our space includes:
Age-appropriate classrooms built for inquiry-based and interdisciplinary learning. Our spaces exist to foster development in literacy, receptive language, mathematics, self-help, and fine & gross motor skills, whether the children are engaged in art, yoga, or independent play.
Two multipurpose rooms dedicated for children to engage in play, gross motor activities and more extensive classroom projects. In evenings and on weekends, these spaces will transform to accommodate faculty development, parent education, and community events and programming.
Classroom toilets for preschool-aged children and a "training" toilet for our toddlers.
A Staff room with accompanying workstations and a faculty library.
A lactation room for Vivvi parents to use throughout the course of their day.
Vivvi's campus will be shoe-free, and our entrance is designed to accommodate a more effortless drop-off where families and children can change footwear and deposit bulkier commuter items (such as strollers). All classrooms are equipped with adequate storage and room for home-supplied food and personal belongings.
CLASSROOM-BASED LEARNING CENTERS
At Vivvi, children are presented with opportunities to meet age-appropriate milestones at their own pace through personalized hands-on learning experiences. Through our intentionally designed independent and small group centers, children are encouraged to pursue more in-depth higher order thinking skills.
Our in-classroom centers include:
The Art Center
Whether working independently or in a group, exploring artistic materials is a favored learning experience for many children. For young children, what we focus on developing is the step-by-step process they use to create a piece of artwork, not just the end product. In the art center, a variety of visual art materials for painting, drawing, collage work, and sculpture creation are available on low, accessible shelves. To support children’s individualistic creations, children are encouraged to use other materials available in the classroom and “shop” in the designated school material space that houses all kinds of resources to inspire extended work. Classroom art centers are key in developing skills such as creative intelligence, independent decision making, risk taking, hand-eye coordination, fine motor development, and collaboration skills.
The Imagination Center
Young children make sense of the world through play. In this center, children learn important social skills in a setting where the barriers of reality disappear, resulting in natural learning. Vivvi educators encourage imagination by filling these spaces with age-appropriate materials ranging from toys and fabrics to furniture and outfits, all representing diverse cultures and experiences. Empowered in a safe setting, children develop many life skills as they play, including problem solving, self-advocacy, decision making, group work, conflict resolution, and self-regulation.
The Math Center
Each class' math center emphasizes Vivvi’s commitment to providing students with a solid mathematical understanding for success in later years. We understand that for young children, mathematics is about much more than rote counting. Our young learners begin relying on shapes and senses to develop early mathematical knowledge and spatial reasoning. They later solidify these skills through comparisons, puzzles, manipulatives, logic, and counting. While working with our full range of materials, classification, sequencing, numeracy, one-to-one correspondence, geometric literacy, patterning, analytic reasoning, symmetry, and mathematical language are all explored.
The Literacy Center
Just like an architect who must first create a solid base before erecting a building, a strong foundation composed of multiple layers of knowledge must be securely in place for young readers to grow. With a curriculum developing listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills woven into every activity, children progress from understanding spoken words and phrases to processing more complex and detailed information. Literacy centers in each classroom focus on developing pertinent skills through robust exposure to language, pictures, books, questions, imagination, and analysis of events. Foundational components of literacy include concentration, vocabulary, language, phonological awareness, print recognition, and a true love for reading.
The Block Center
At Vivvi, block play is an integral part of children’s learning. It is a natural tool for learning about mathematics, and there is no wrong way to build and create with blocks. Throughout the classrooms, Vivvi provides an array of soft, hard, and hollow wood blocks; and as children work with blocks, they learn about numeracy, geometry, problem solving, engineering, and collaboration.
The Discovery Center (Science Center)
Young children are naturally inquisitive about the world around them, and learning science is not just about building a basis for future scientific understanding but also for developing important skills and attitudes towards learning. Infants at Vivvi begin their scientific understanding by experiencing the natural world through regular outdoor walks, natural materials, and tactile exploration. Our toddler and preschool programs are introduced to a deeper exploration through the study of plants and rocks, books, and science projects, with educators supporting open-ended, inquiry-based research. The skills mastered within our Discovery Centers include observation, prediction, problem solving, development of hypotheses, and experiment design.
The Wiggle Room
Young children need to have daily physical activities for strong capable bodies - and to play! In our two well-appointed multipurpose spaces and in our classrooms, children experience the joys of physical fitness as they run, climb, ride moving toys, and play with interactive equipment and materials. These movement experiences are an essential component of the early learning process as gross motor development progresses predictably from simple to complex actions. Besides the physical benefits, brain research shows a direct link between physical fitness and a person’s mental well-being. The basic skills that young children develop while engaged in movement activities include balance, body coordination, and healthy-living habits.