Call for Participation - Design Competition

Early Childhood FabLab Furniture Design
Designing the Classroom of the Future

Who: Early Childhood FabLab Development Team
Virginia Tech is partnered with the Teaching Institute for STEM (TIES), the Bay Area Discovery Museum in California, and FableVision Studios in Boston, to design and implement Fab Labs for early learners (ages 3-8). As we explore the minds and worlds of our very young children, we recognize the importance of collaboration, communication, and creation in environments that are conducive to their very specific needs and ways of doing. Communication at this level looks much different than in high school, among adults, or even in typical childcare centers. 
Need: Promoting social engagement through furniture

In designing prototype labs, we recognize all of the furniture that has been designed for early childhood learning centers restricts encouragement of collaboration, communication, and creation for these very early learners. It is not enough to just have chairs at their level; this furniture needs to accommodate different learning modes; promoting engagement, interaction, and movement while also enabling focus and concentration.

Audience: early learners, ages 3-8
Environment: public spaces (museums, libraries, etc.) and mobile classrooms
Design Principles:
  • sturdy and safe
  • easy to move and clean
  • modular (multipurpose)
  • ability to accommodate children of different sizes (3-8)
Deadline: May 2, 2016
Furniture designs will be on display for public review and expert critique at ICAT Day in the Moss Arts Center on Monday, May 2, 2016 from 11am – 4pm. Design award will be given at the ICAT Day Awards ceremony on Monday, May 2, 2016 at 4:30pm. 
**Two interest meetings will be held during the first week of February where the project lead will provide more information and answer questions. In addition, Jan Morrison, CEO of TIES, will be available for a few moments via videoconference to provide additional information. Interest meetings will be held:
  • Tuesday, February 2 at 5:00 pm in MAC 253 (Learning Studio)
  • Friday, February 5 at 9:30 am in MAC 158 (Perform Studio)
Contact Liesl Baum ( with any questions.