Currently, architects are aware of the impact of the environment on children's development. This study investigated children’s attitudes and mental images of a child-friendly kindergarten in order to identify its architectural indicators. The research was conducted in Gorgan, Golestan province, Iran. The statistical population of the study consisted of 251 children aged 3 to 7 who were randomly selected from 17 classes in 6 governmental institutions and 5 private institutions prepared for this age group. To discover the expressed interests of children, field studies were used with participatory tools such as semi-structured draw-and-tell interviews about what they had drawn or failed to draw. Concepts extracted from children's drawings and interviews were coded by MAXQDA10 software and classified into five categories: Built environment, Landscaping, Natural environment, Conceptual-symbolic themes and so on. Data were analysed using statistical methods. The results indicated that by linking the natural environment, landscaping and the built environment, a child-friendly kindergarten can be created and that the importance of the connection between architecture and nature is well represented in the mental images of children through landscaping. The results of study, which are applicable in similar fields, raises architects’ awareness of the importance of collaborative design with children.
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