Kindergarten is originally a German word that combines the words children and garden suggesting the role of nature in educating preschool children. The kindergarten has long been regarded, since its inception by the German educator Friedrich Froebel in the 1830s, as a revolutionary institution for educating preschool children (Brosterman, 1997). Much has occurred since that time in research on child development and several theories have been put forward (Trawick-Smith, 1997), which offer various theoretical frameworks for impacting kindergarten design. Several studies have evaluated educational facilities especially schools (Ornstein, 1997). Locally, there is a lack of rigorous POE studies in general and specifically on kindergarten facilities. One study that evaluated elementary schools locally (Mahgoub, 1998) promised useful design guidelines for designing new elementary schools in Al-Ain. Another study evaluated college facilities (Gabr & Al-Sallal, 2002). Research on kindergartens has related classroom practices to specific child performances (Maxwell, 2001). Most of this research addresses educational aspects in classroom rather than physical aspects (Martin, 2002; Perry, 2000; Tong, 1998; Elicker, 1997). Little research has highlighted the importance of quality design upon the child education and development (Dudek, 2000). Physical elements as well as symbolic elements, cultural aspects, and landscape features are important attributes for designing quality kindergartens. However, research that goes beyond suggesting mere utilitarian recommendations is rare. The objective of this research is to assess the technical, functional, and behavioral performance of different kindergarten facilities for child needs. By assessing the successes and failures of kindergarten facilities, this POE research can offer valuable insights into how to design environments that foster and improve the educational and development experience for children. From a pool of 44 schools, seven case studies were selected that were representative of the kindergartens of the public education system in Al Ain City, United Arab Emirates. They were classified based upon the type of their design layout. The methods used to gather data included walk-through evaluation, followed by recording of physical traces, participant observations, followed by an interview with selected officials. The walk-through evaluation initiated the on-site data collection process. Two types of observations were included: the recording of observed physical traces, and the recording of observed child behavior. The interview was conducted with the kindergarten managers, selected teachers, and with an expert in child education. The analysis of the interviews and observations were intended to provide an assessment of the kindergarten, with its design advantages and disadvantages. The design of quality kindergartens is concluded to be the offering of a variety of opportunities to satisfy various child and teacher needs, to stimulate child development, and to preserve physical, mental, and social well-being. The extent to which the building offers these opportunities defines the level of design quality of the kindergarten. The kindergarten should provide ample opportunities for learning, playing, self-expression, self-presentation, social interaction and cooperation, eating and drinking, medical treatment, and privacy. Desirable design features for each opportunity are discussed. The main design issues mentioned as important by the sample in the study include the following: health and safety, nurturing and development, security, social interaction, privacy, care and education, well-being, imagination, creativity, learning and teaching, physical accessibility, and convenience. The paper concludes by recommending several design principles for designing better kindergartens that take into account the physical, social, psychological, and comfort needs of children and teachers.AcknowledgmentThis work was financially supported by the Research Affairs at the UAE University under a contract no. 22-7-11/02 while the researcher was employed in the UAE University.