Kiara Koval

Kiara Koval

Troy, NY, US


The Industrial Kindergarten

In early childhood development, there comes a stage when children start to grasp the many systems that we encounter in our day to day life, be that in the form of the architecture of their homes, the complex mechanics behind the tablets they use, or even a simple toy train set. For a child, gaining a head start in understanding the fundamental concepts of mechanics can greatly improve the speed at which the child understands the way in which the world works.

The fundamentals of engineering and mechanics can be broken down into simple pieces that even a young child can learn. Developed from Archimedes’ principle of ‘The Simple Machines’, a machine in its most basic form is one that uses a single force to do work. This idea has been summarized into what is now referred to as the ‘Six Simple Machines’, the six referring to the: lever, wheel, axel, pulley, inclined plane, wedge, and screw. By implementing these various machines into operable elements for the children to play and experiment with as they please, the children are independently learning the basic forms of physics and engineering. This not only increases their academic understanding of such concepts but also can contribute towards improve their coordination and problem-solving skills.

The Industrial Kindergarten proposes an ironic twist in that instead of using workers to produce a product, the environment itself produces ‘worker’s. In this environment, we see the children as becoming eager and curious workers, who understand how work done on one end can generate results on another. Implementing the six simple machines in varying forms and scales and allowing children to play without consequences will help them to see the mechanics so often hidden from the world. Nowadays, children are often plopped in front of a TV or tablet, and to them they gain no understanding whatsoever of how such objects can function. In the Industrial Kindergarten, the goal is total transparency of the mechanics and operating systems of the building itself.  

Staying true to the ‘Industrial’ component of this kindergarten concept, the building’s style features many characteristics of what can referred to as the classical age of industrial architecture. Inspirations for the building were found in abandoned factory buildings, making abundant use of concrete, piping, and steel. A strong attention to carrying forth the aesthetics of a true factory and a strive towards authenticity helped to establish the ‘realness’ of the project and allow the children to feel as though they are in a real environment, creating real results.

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Status: School Project