Nestled amongst a grove of towering eucalyptus trees near UCSD's Mesa Housing, the completed Mesa Childcare Center has been transformed into outdoor learning areas designed in the style of learning that originated in the villages around the Reggio-Emilia region of Italy after World War II. The basic principles include respect, responsibility and the development of community through exploration in a supportive and enriching teaching environment. In this learning style the environment is seen as an additional educator, allowing for engaging and creative play. The spaces included in the landscape design include many opportunities for creative expression.
Interior and exterior spaces in the Reggio-Emilia approach has created seamless indoor and outdoor amenities that take advantage of the local climate. The exterior amenities including pedestrian circulation, play areas, shade structures and play structures are designed to maximize children’s contact with nature and natural elements. The heart of the design involves a central water way, integrating stormwater facilities that doubles as a cleaning station. In addition, the new center includes several green features, an herb garden and natural lighting and ventilation.
It recently won the LEED-CI GOLD award.