This guide is loaded with ideas, inventory lists, and resources to support you in conveying the learning that is happening while children play!
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Imagine experiencing that beautiful moment when the children are highly engaged in their play, making choices, constructing new theories and doing this all independently in your early years environment. This is from a well thought out and intentionally planned environment, acting as your co-teacher. The way you layout furniture and display resources creates a voice for you.
What is YOUR EARLY YEARS ENVIRONMENT SAYING?
Is your environment speaking for you in ways that engage children’s innate curiosity, create independence and allow for deeper play?
The early years environment speaks to children, it invites them to engage in the different areas, to make large and small movements, loud and quiet noises, solitary and group play.
Our learning environments reflect our values and principles as educators. Those guiding lights of how and where we place furniture, what materials we put in the baskets, the colours, shapes and textures we provide all speak to children.
These 10 TIPS FOR YOUR LEARNING ENVIRONMENT will help guide you through questions to reflect on, key items to have accessible for the children, and strategies to keep yourself and your environment organized.
Make sure to grab your FREE guide that goes along with this video. Use the questions at the end as time for self-reflection and create a plan with meaning and intention to get started on curating your third teacher.
After you watch the video, make sure to leave a comment on the blog below and share what you want your environment to say and which tip resonated with you.
This is my number 1 tip!! Having flexibility is KEY to the environment working for you and the children.
Before you make anything permanent on the walls, ask yourself:
For example, the mirror in this photo is not only for decor but can also be easily taken off the wall to play ontop of! Then can be put back when done. This idea of flexibility is helpful for small or cost effective budgets.
Elements of design for an early learning program:
Most importantly observe your current group of children, watch their patterns, look for types of social and schema play. Plan & implement design changes that are relevant to your group & their needs. Only take inspiration from others, do not directly copy!
Having a variety of resources accessible at all times will drive children’s curiosity. Ensuring there is meaning & intent behind why these resources are chosen is so important. Children are intrinsically motivated to make their own choices. If the valuable resources are only available through request then this will hinder children’s play.
Questions to ask yourself:
Oh the beautiful endless choices. How do you know if it is a quality resource to add? Ask yourself, what are the object affordances? Providing open-ended intelligent materials that have endless ways to be transformed, manipulated and transported bring quality and value to your environment. FREE resources such as scrap fabrics, cardboard tubes, milk lids, boxes and sticks (especially HIUGE ones) are my favourite resources.
If you choose to invest in resources think about:
I can’t get enough of loose parts!!! These would be my must have loose parts:
Inside the FREE Loose Parts guide, you’ll find detailed lists of loose parts ideas, inspiring photos and simple strategies to help you use these magical materials in your early years environment!
This can be a HIGH TRAFFIC AREA!! Ensuring this is well thought out for YOUR group of children will be key. Consider this to be a space where children come to “feel like home” so having cozy pillows and blankets, pictures of their families on the wall are simple ways to create that. I like to use this area as a hot spot for literacy as it can feel very natural for the children.
I included these items:
Children have big ideas and need lots of space and time to unravel their plans. At some points we had 2 building areas because 1 wasn’t enough. Our building area and dramatic play areas were used simultaneously and had open flow, compartmentalizing these areas would have hindered their play.
Besides traditional classroom blocks I added these items as well to spark stories & to connect interests from other areas:
Sensory nooks and quiet areas are essential throughout the whole day, to make them accessible to multiple children I would have separate baskets for each child who uses it on a regular basis filled with items they use to self-regulate with.
Along with the essentials of:
Discover the possibilities outdoors by having a few key resources (listed below) and nurture children’s innate interest for nature. Encouraging children to find their own resources develops creativity, observational skills, and opens doors to conversations about conservation.
Key items I have for outdoors are:
Creating a system to organize and store all of your materials is key to not loosing items and forgetting what you own. One strategy that is super helpful is using clear storage containers for loose parts creates a visually appealing and organized learning environment. You can find economical storage bins and ideas from Dollarama, second hand use stores and your local department store.
Curating an early years learning environment that works for you and children is key to a meaningful and rich experience for everyone. I hope you enjoyed these 10 Tips and I would love to see and hear how you used them in your practice. Download your FREE guide and begin to curate your early learning environment to work for you, as your third teacher!
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.
Unlock the possibilities to simplify your planning, become proactive with behaviours & enjoy your role again! I'll guide you to find the beauty in loose parts play.
Here to help you simplify planning, understand behaviours & build strong relationships...all with the magic of loose parts!
Only inspiration & support will drop in your inbox. Unsubscribe at anytime.
Here to help you simplify planning, understand behaviours & build strong relationships...with the magic of loose parts!