Let’s get into this whole connection between beauty within the early years World and child development.
I believe that children deserve beautiful things, beautiful environments, and spaces to explore and learn in.
As long as you have that intention, and meaningful why behind what you are doing, beauty will be the byproduct.
To help us understand why beauty needs to be in child development, let’s first start with the basics of defining what beauty is.
”Beauty is rather a measure of effect, a measure of emotion. So within the context of art, beauty is the gauge of successful communication between participants.”
Now, I thought that was really, really key to all of this is that it’s the communication, that’s what defines beauty is that the participants are understanding what is actually happening, what the artist is trying to portray. And they’re understanding that.
So let’s relate this to the early years world. Communication between participants, what is that within the early years world that can be between child to child, child to the materials, child to the environment, child to educator, and child to its own self, as well.
The way that we set up our environments, we’re communicating to the children, about what we hope and dream for them, and what we hope they take from these materials that we’ve brought in, we’re trying to communicate something with them, because our environments are a third teacher, they are meant to speak for us.
So to go a little deeper into this, I also wanted to look at, well, what else is associated with beauty. And I believe that is creativity.
I thought, again, to go back to the basics, let’s look at what a definition of creativity is.
Simply put, “creativity involves transforming your ideas, imagination and dreams into reality. When you’re being creative, you can see the hidden patterns, make connections between things that aren’t normally related, and come up with new ideas. creative ability depends on creative thinking, which is part hard work, but largely creative problem solving.”
So this can be related to the thought processes that lead to the end result. If you think about creativity, and how it’s transforming ideas, creating a new reality, and in the end, the end result typically ends up being sometimes something that is what we perceive as beautiful or as the children perceive beautiful.
So let’s look at how creativity and beauty are related to early child development. A while ago I posted a variety of pictures of what loose parts play can really look like. And there’s always a lot of comments of “thank you so much for posting this. This is what my classroom looks like all the time.” And that is very true.
My environment never stayed the same. It always looked well played in, it started off sometimes absolutely beautiful, those Pinterest worthy pictures, but it never stayed like that. And that’s not the point of it. It’s meant to be played in and used.
So when people ask me, “What do you think of messy play? Or how does your environment stay like that?”, I’m always like, it doesn’t.
I believe that play is a story, but let’s back it up further first. I believe that setting up an environment first is a story of communication from us as the educator. So we are telling a story, what we think that children want to learn, our image of a child and that to the kinds of materials that we bring in help portray the narrative.
It is a story of us as the educator that we’re trying to communicate to the child. Then the play that happens from that from the environment, the children take over our story. And they start to put their own perspective into it. So their story starts to unravel. And this is when it starts to come out into the play environment.
I see that play is really just a story of children’s thoughts and ideas that you can see that have happened all throughout the play environment. And you can document this and you’ll be able to retell it.
And I believe that there’s lots of beauty in that as well, because it shows the creative part.
And with beauty being successful communication between the participants, if the children are sparked with creativity, and they want to engage with it from what I have set up, then I believe that they have got the communication successfully.
And so that brings in that beauty within your environment as well.
Okay, so I challenge you to post pictures of your environments. And it’s fabulous if they look absolutely stunning, but however they look just post them. And then also post pictures of the children playing in them. Share your story of what you tried to communicate with the children and what they communicated back. Let’s discover the beauty of a beautiful environment and the beauty within children’s play as well.
Share those photos into the Facebook group, All Things Early Years. And I want to read all of your amazing stories on the beauty of stunning pictures of environments that are Pinterest worthy and the just as stunning photos of children’s play in the environments as well.
I am an Early Childhood Consultant and very passionate about supporting and inspiring my fellow Educators. I will share my reflections and experiences about implementing my philosophy, views, and ideas into my practice.
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Here to help you simplify planning, understand behaviours & build strong relationships...with the magic of loose parts!