The San Francisco preschool Sweet Peas is housed in a newly renovated space courtesy of local architect Karen Curtiss. Formerly an electrical warehouse, the 1,400-square-foot interior is now a gleaming example of a modern teaching space. "Rather than hide the industrial past we sought to use it as a metaphor for the building blocks to help little minds grow," Curtiss says. She divided the layout into distinct zones from a quiet area to active learning to dramatic and free play to outdoor play. "A school environment sends a signal to children about the value we place on them in the world," she says. "The space needs to be both organized and malleable."