Nursery schools must provide sufficient daylight supply. Daylight and being able to look outside promotes the visual experience of the outside world, which is particularly important for children. Sun protection on the windows is not as important here as it is in work places, particularly those with display devices. More to the point: Sunlight coming in through the windows creates bright light beams and defined shadow edges which enrich children’s visual experience.
Nursery schools, play schools
Artificial lighting in nursery schools, day-care centres and preschools (playrooms and nursery rooms) should be appropriate to children’s experience in terms of lighting fixture shapes and colours and consist of two lighting systems.
The first one is comfort lighting, which is supposed to ease the transition from the home environment to the pre-school area for children in the morning or evening hours on dark days or during the dark season. The illuminance of roughly 100 lx can be achieved using luminaires with compact fluorescent lamps or LEDs. Dimming can support the adjustment effect, enhance room atmospheres and create an association to the brightness progression of daylight.
Then, there is functional lighting, which is supposed to reach the minimum illuminance of 300 lx standardised by EN 12464-1 for conditions where daylight supply is insufficient due to weather, time of day or season, or where there is no daylight at all. Luminaires with fluorescent lamps or LEDs and lamps with good to excellent colour rendering (colour rendering index) should be favoured. Daylight-dependent control or regulation helps save costs.
Comfort lighting should only be provided over a limited amount of time. After that, there should be a switchover or dimming to functional lighting. The switchover should occur once the children have adapted to the new environment. This becomes apparent e.g. through children focussing on intensive play, reading, painting and writing, which require higher lighting levels.
In addition to the increase in lighting levels, the light colour of natural light also changes over the course of the day. Regarding the melanopic efficiency of daylight on human beings (see chapter “Light and non-visual effects”), there are good reasons for adjusting the artificial lighting in day-care centres to colour changes in daylight. Planar light ceilings with dynamic colour changes can be switched on for one or two hours per day to compensate for a lack of biologically adequate daylight – mainly during the dark season. This additional lighting system can be switched automatically using a timer or a light management system, or manually.
Comfort lighting can e.g. be applied in group or playrooms, eating and resting areas as well as corridors. Basic supply rooms such as kitchens, sanitary areas, wardrobes and first-aid-areas, however, must have continuous functional lighting.
Learning rooms in pre-schools to prepare for future academic education should be illuminated like classrooms with free seating arrangements.
To avoid hazards to children, the luminaires which can be reached by children should feature a closed construction and child-proof installation.
When using fluorescent-lamp luminaires, ball-proof models are recommended on principle to ensure that any release of mercury from the lamp is avoided.