Design For Children, Washington D.C.
Project Goal: To strengthen the network of childcare providers, upgrade facilities so they may serve more children.
Client: DC Metro Area Childcare Facilities
Partners: Office of the State Superintendent of Education, Footsteps of Children, PUSH Academy, Happy Faces Learning Center, Little Samaritan Child Development Center
Services Delivered: Program Creation, community organizing, research, meeting facilitation, community engagement, schematic design.
Though more than 60% of American families rely on childcare services during their baby’s most formative early years, the U.S. government allocates no funding to assist them. Many facilities are overcrowded, outdated, or disappearing altogether, as lease rates increase and building owners opt for more glamorous tenants like new restaurants. Nowhere are these issues more pronounced than in our nation’s capital.
The first steps were a call for OADC volunteers and in-depth research, which included meeting with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) and surveying every childcare provider in D.C. The team then organized a workshop for all interested childcare providers. Providers were introduced to OADC and the Design for Children mission. In turn, each provider shared issues they faced and possible improvements for each center were discussed.
In May, only 3 months after starting, the volunteers provided Bonnie a full schematic design package. She will soon be able to open her newly designed childcare center, Footsteps of Children, and serve even more families than in her previous location.
OADC volunteers are currently helping LaTrell Duncan navigate building codes and design plans to turn an empty space she found into PUSH Academy — a name highlighting what excites Ms. Duncan most about this project “Promoting Universal STEM Hub.”