Early Learning Center

Cherokee Nation

A site nestled among tree-covered hills in Tahlequah provided a wonderful location for the Cherokee Nation’s Early Learning Center. Inspired by the natural surroundings and the Cherokee culture, Selser Schaefer Architects created an environment that encourages learning, social growth and a sense of belonging.

As an American Indian owned firm, Selser Schaefer Architects embraced the opportunity to collaborate with the Cherokee Nation to create a solution that would honor the Cherokee heritage. The facility’s exterior design and elements throughout the interior reflect the Cherokee Nation’s seven clans and traditional Cherokee colors and symbols.

Selser Schaefer Architects designed the center with three wings to serve the needs of young children in different stages of development. Creating separate spaces for the Child Development Department, the Infant and Toddler Program and the Preschool Program also reduced the apparent scale of the large facility for the children, teachers and visitors. The center’s multipurpose space gives kids a big place to play with friends, while ceiling panels keep the sound in check. The room also serves as a gathering place for staff or community events.