The Importance of Environment

At Parkland Players, we utilize a Reggio Emilia Approach to childcare. One of the key aspects of Reggio Emilia is an emphasis on the importance of the natural environment. Children should have the opportunity to engage with their surrounding and the natural world. This principle can be extended to a more fixed indoor environment. Although children cannot spend all their time outside with nature, they can have the same opportunities to engage with their environment indoors if it made in a way that encourages this kind of behaviour.

 

The following describes important design elements for creating a quality educational environment that encourages exploration, play and social relationships:

  • Environment is clean, safe, well-lit, and an appropriate temperature.
  • This aspect applies to children’s basic needs and comfort levels
  • Environment is not over-stimulating, is calm and promotes focus and attention on materials and tasks at hand
  • Materials and furniture in the space is an appropriate size of the children using it
  • This makes children feel like the environment is catered to them and increases their comfort level
  • It also makes the environment safer as children are not playing with materials or in spaces that disproportionate to them
  • The environment is inviting to children
  • The environment provides a variety of activities that allow children to engage in things that peak their interests and have a sense of control over what they choose
    • This allows children to develop and explore their individual interests which is another important aspect of Reggio Emilia learning
  • The environment facilitates adult abilities to support children

 

Source: Petersen, Sandra H., and Donna S. Wittmer. Infant and Toddler Curriculum, 2nd Edition. Pearson Learning Solutions, 2012. VitalBook file.

 

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