Play is an essential part of a child's educational experience and serves as the cornerstone upon which their growth and development are built. It is of the utmost significance for children's general intellectual development and maturation that an environment be crafted for them and made available to them that promotes their wellbeing, safety, and capacity for thought. Child care workers have a vital role to play in promoting safe exploration among the children under their care.
Children have a built-in curiosity and aren't afraid to try new things. They move swiftly, put things in their mouths, drop or throw items, and enjoy climbing and hiding. They also put things in their mouths. It is of the utmost importance to protect children. But the solution is not to create an atmosphere in which you spend the entire day warning people not to touch this or that and to keep their distance from it. Instead of wasting your time trying to redirect the youngsters, you should give great consideration to how the setting is set up.
It is a far more effective way to regulate behaviour and foster learning in children to provide them with the opportunity to freely explore an area that has been well-organized and is safe for youngsters.
If the children in your child care programme are behaving inappropriately, you should investigate whether or not the setting is contributing to the problem. Take a thorough look at the area you have available, both inside and out. It is possible to maintain children's interest in learning by providing a secure space to play and age-appropriate toys. This can also help lessen behavioural issues, which will spare you from having to say "No" as much.
How Do Environments Affect You?
You have a few favourite destinations, namely:
- Maybe a fave eatery
- A local park
- A venue for sporting events
- A house belonging to a dear friend
What about the places that make you feel like you belong or give you a sense of safety? Why do you feel the need to revisit this place? When you think about these locations, you might recall the people that were there, the colour of the space, whether or not there was sunlight, the smells and sounds, the furniture and accessories, or the temperature.
Now think about places that you would rather avoid going to, such as the dentist's office, the airport, or a noisy restaurant. What aspects of these surroundings make them less appealing to you? In certain environments, we are able to unwind and feel at ease. When we are in different environments, we may experience feelings of tension, overload, and confusion. The environment exerts a significant influence on our lives. It has an effect on the way we think, the things we do, and the ways in which we react. Some of us avoid going to situations where we don't feel like we can control or anticipate what will happen there. Sometimes we could get the impression that we don't belong somewhere or that our presence isn't appreciated. Looking for an early learning centre in Sydney ? Then Little Angels early learning centre is what you’re looking for.
Even if they are unable to articulate their emotions in a sophisticated manner, children of preschool age are influenced by their surrounds in the same way that adults are. It is our responsibility to see to it that the classrooms and other learning environments where children spend their time make them feel comfortable, safe, and eager to learn.
Why is the physical environment in childcare important for learning and play?
Children's intellectual and emotional growth can be fostered in an atmosphere that encourages both study and play. Because playing is one of the most prevalent methods in which children learn, the surroundings in which they spend their time need to be created and arranged so that they are compatible with the ways in which children feel, act, and behave.
For instance, a healthy physical environment enables children to expand and mature through the activities, colours, and textures that are available to them. On the other hand, a child's educational experience might be negatively impacted by childcare facilities that are not well constructed as learning settings. For example, placing the reading and literacy section close to the music area will result in significant disturbances for youngsters who are attempting to focus their attention.
In the early years of education, the physical learning environment is a representation of both the teacher's preparation and the student's progress. Children will be able to grow socially, emotionally, and physically if they have access to a location that is well organised and comfortable. The child's age as well as the quantity of other children in the room will each have an effect on the environment that they are exposed to physically. The following is a comparison of the many ways in which these early childhood learning spaces were organised.
Features of a good learning environment in early childhood
Children should feel comfortable participating, exploring, and developing in learning environments that are upbeat and welcoming. These environments are typically seen in childcare settings. Nonetheless, there are specific characteristics that can be seen in effective learning environments. These are the following:
- Spaces to enable quality interactions with educators and children
- Areas for exploration and investigation
- Group spaces and areas for children to explore creativity
- Spaces for relaxation
- Zones for rough and tumble play
- Welcoming spaces for families
- Opportunity for risk-taking and challenge
- It is also crucial that these areas have adequate resources and materials that reflect children’s needs, lives and identity.
Designing Your Space to Meet Preschool Children’s Needs
Time, thought (thinking), and careful planning are necessities for developing an atmosphere conducive to learning. Whether children participate in your programme for three or twelve hours each day, the environment has a significant role in assisting children in their development and learning. According to the findings of certain studies, improving the quality of the learning environment in schools can help narrow the academic success gap. That is, children who attend school with less of a readiness to learn are the ones who benefit the most from learning environments that are supportive. Your nurturing classroom has the potential to be an essential source of consistency for children whose parents are in the military (a group that may experience a great deal of change in their daily lives). A supportive atmosphere is:
- Well-organized: orderly, planned and safe.
- Dependable: a stable “home base” for children who need it.
- Flexible: able to adjust to meet the needs of different children.
Children receive a range of positive messages about their learning by being in such supportive surraoundings, including the following examples:
- This is a good place to be.
- You belong here.
- You can trust this place.
- There are places where you can be by yourself when you want to be.
- You can do many things on your own here.
- This is a safe place to explore and try out your ideas.
Places for Play and Learning: Interest Areas
How do you go about locating the things that you require when you enter a retail or supermarket store? If you are looking for grapes, you probably have faith that you will be able to find them in the same area as other fresh fruits and vegetables. If you are in the market for a new pair of socks, you most likely have a solid idea of where to begin your search. The designs of some stores are superior to those of others, but the majority of retail enterprises adhere to a few basic design tenets, such as placing items with comparable functions in close proximity to one another and using signs to direct customers. Now, picture one of the children who attends your class. How do they know where to look for things like toys and materials, or how to use their surroundings to inform their decisions?
Although there are a lot of variations between retail outlets and classrooms, it makes sense to organise things according to their purpose in both kinds of settings. If we were at a store, we might refer to these clusters of related products as "departments." When referring to places in settings for young children that are intended for specific purposes or that contain things with uses that are analogous to those purposes, we refer to these areas as "interest areas" or "learning centres."
When a youngster enters an interest area that has been thoughtfully planned, they are aware of the following:
- The materials that can be found there.
- The type of play (loud, quiet, social, solitary) that might happen there.
- The expectations for how to behave there.
- How to explore, learn and have fun there.
Every day, when you are a preschool teacher, you create learning opportunities for the children in your care, and the majority of these possibilities are facilitated by the classroom or the surrounding outside environment. Learning takes place most effectively through the use of interest areas in early childhood education settings. You can construct your interest areas based on the needs, interests, and capabilities of the children in your care.
Important elements are found in every effective room design:
To assist youngsters in concentrating and avoiding distractions, you can use shelves, furniture, or other barriers. For instance, jogging and roughhousing are activities that are encouraged in open areas with lots of space. Place your furnishings and points of interest in such a way that they visually divide up huge, open areas.
Helping children understand how and where to access an intriguing subject is one of your most important responsibilities. If you use something called a "centre management system," which is a system of tags, pictures, or symbols to limit the number of children who play in an interesting area, make sure the children know how to use it and that it satisfies their requirements and interests throughout the day. See our list of available early learning programs Sydney to help you make an informed decision for your child.
Make sure you have multiples of your favourite toys. Also, ensure that there are sufficient materials so that multiple children may play together in the social spaces, such as the dramatic play area and the block area. If there are sufficient things for the children to utilise together, there is a greater chance that they will engage in meaningful play.
Engaging Materials that Spark Children’s Interests:
- Think about the interests of the youngsters in your class.
- Regularly adding new materials or rotating existing ones will ensure that children always have something fresh and exciting to do.
- Consider the visual aids, such as photos and displays, as well as any printed or written materials, that children can use to learn and become engaged in each topic.
Separate Loud, Active and Quiet, Calm Spaces:
The library, attentive listening, and writing are all activities that fall under the category of "quiet interest areas." The block area, the dramatic play area, and the sand or water (sensory) area are all examples of potentially noisy and dynamic centres.
Access to Needed Materials
Sand and water, as well as easy access to sinks, should be provided in discovery and creative spaces. It is possible that sections with music and movement, technological equipment, and kitchen facilities will require access to electrical outlets. If the library and block area have plush carpeting, it will be much simpler for youngsters to sit on the floor and play with the various things that are spread out there.
Align the items to be used and the interest areas with the learning goals.
Keep Safety in Mind
Always make sure you can see and keep an eye on all of the children that are present.
Common interest areas recommended for preschoolers
The best block play rooms have a wide range of items that encourage discovery and pique the child's curiosity. Children make use of the block area to investigate how objects function by constructing, dismantling, filling, emptying, stretching, reaching, balancing, and creating.
The block locations should be sufficiently spacious for multiple youngsters to play there at the same time. It's possible that you'll come across a variety of huge and little blocks (wooden, cardboard, foam or interlocking).
There is also the option of making your own blocks from of cardboard boxes or durable cloth. In many block locations, there are natural or repurposed materials available for youngsters to use in the construction of their creations. It is essential to incorporate accoutrements such as toy figures, automobiles, and building tools and machinery.
Altering the accessories you provide on a regular basis and basing it on children's current learning goals and interests is something you should do.
Children are given the opportunity to test out new concepts and ideas while playing in the dramatic play area. Children exercise their creativity while cooperating with one another, and they hone their ability to take care of themselves while playing dress-up. Children get the opportunity to act out their own home and family themes using props such a kitchen, table, clothes, food, and babies when they play in an area that is designed well for dramatic play. It is essential to provide children with a wide variety of alternative play concepts that they can investigate as their interests develop.
Children can, for instance, utilise props to construct a bakery, doctor's office, flower shop, or virtually any other setting they choose. Again, the additional props or dress-up items that are provided can change according to the ideas that you are now investigating as well as the interests that youngsters currently have (e.g., community helpers such as firefighters or police officers).
Toys and Games
Toys and games give youngsters the opportunity to acquire vital abilities such as critical thinking, social skills, and fine motor skills (using hands and fingers well).
In your toy and game area, you might have a selection of jigsaw puzzles, board games, and other little things. Children may find that this area offers them a good opportunity to recognise and match a variety of colours, shapes, sizes, and textures.
The art section gives youngsters the chance to express themselves creatively while also helping them develop their fine motor abilities. Painting, drawing, and sculpture are all forms that might be considered forms of visual art. This is a place to let your imagination run wild and get inspired.
The best art rooms provide children with a wide variety of items that they may experiment with and utilise, such as sponges, rollers, glitter, tape, paint, stamps, and recycled materials of all different kinds. They also comprise ordinary or uncommon things that might be utilised in novel methods (for instance, "block printing" with paint and other plastic blocks).
In many locations devoted to art, there are also exhibitions of famous artwork, publications, and works created by youngsters. It is important to keep in mind that you are not need to always have access to each and every material or art equipment imaginable. You are free to switch out certain materials, tools, and displays dependent on the experiences that are the primary focus for that day or week.
Children can unwind and enjoy themselves while reading in the peace and quiet of the library. The best libraries have a wide range of books, including works of fiction and nonfiction, alphabet books, number books, books of nursery rhymes, and resource books. In addition to this, it frequently consists of upholstered furniture or pillows.
For convenience, books can be arranged on shelves or stored in baskets on the shelves. A listening station, felt board, literacy activities, and other resources as well as books might be included in the library in order to familiarise children with language and text. Remember that it's crucial to incorporate print resources (such as books, maps, or magazines) and writing materials in every interest area, even though the library is a fantastic site for supporting children's literacy development. Even though the library is a great venue for doing so. It's possible that some schools will want to have a specific area designated as a "writing centre," possibly next to the school library or the art room, where students will have access to a variety of writing implements and types of paper (e.g., lined and unlined paper, post-it notes, etc.).
The discovery area serves as the children's introduction to the world of scientific enquiry. It includes materials that are designed to be explored in an open-ended manner. Children are frequently given the opportunity to investigate a wide range of natural items that are displayed for them (rocks, pinecones, starfish, etc.). PVC tubing, magnets, weights, and other items are some of the other materials that can be found in the exploration area. Tools for exploration, such as microscopes, magnifying glasses, scales, ramps, and measuring tools, are also given for use by the students. In this location, children are also given the opportunity to take part in research or to care for a class pet. If you're looking for a Early Learning Centre Sydney that develops children's unique capabilities, you’re in the right place.
Sand and water
Sand and water areas offer children the chance to experiment with pouring, measuring, contrasting, and constructing. Although the area is termed "sand and water," you are not required to provide only sand and water even though it is the name of the place. This is an area that a lot of teachers classify as sensory. Your sand and water area may have a variety of objects for you to investigate, such as shredded paper, leaves, packing peanuts, and snow, among other things. In addition, a lot of kids find the area with the sand and water to be very relaxing.
Music and movement
Children are able to create their own music and respond to the music of others when they are provided with a setting that encourages them to engage in huge movements. It is essential to offer a wide variety of materials at this location, including streamers, ribbons, shakers, musical instruments, and recorded music. The music and movement area may offer participants the chance to dance and participate in rhythmic activities.
The students are given the opportunity to practise skills that they will use in real life, and the kitchen area is an excellent method to bring different cultures into the classroom. Children can learn valuable numeracy, literacy, and self-care skills by assisting an adult in the preparation of straightforward meals. Cooking activities do not have to take place in a section of the room that is solely designated for cooking experiences; rather, cooking activities can take place in a more adaptable part of the room, such as the table (or tables) that children typically use to eat morning or afternoon snacks or the tables that are available to use in the area designated for toys and games.
Children are often given the opportunity to utilise computers in their preschool classrooms. Children of varying ages can benefit from engaging in learning activities that are developmentally appropriate when they use computers or other forms of technology and media, such as tablets. Children, for instance, may get familiar with people, animals, and locations through the use of computers and the Internet that are inaccessible to them in person. In addition, kids can utilise computers and various forms of media to record and discuss their own experiences. Children have additional options available to them while using computers to accomplish their educational objectives, such as reading interactive ebooks and playing games that help them learn letters, letter sounds, and numbers.
At Young Academics, we recognise that each kid has unique requirements, and as a result, we make every effort to equip them with resources and facilities that are adapted to meet those need. Your child will be able to put concepts and ideas to use in a setting that is more realistic and practical thanks to the colours, shapes, and textures of our resources and play spaces.
FAQs About Childcare Environment
When it comes to children's behaviour, the environment just means the little things around your child. Your child's 'behaviour environment' includes: his location – for example, at the park, at home, at the supermarket. toys, books and play equipment, but also other things you might not want him to play with.
Environments should be welcoming and interesting. Unfamiliar surroundings and people can provoke a stress response, which has the potential to be damaging to a child's learning abilities. Having homey features in a classroom environment helps children feel more comfortable and can help their ability to learn.
The physical environment impacts how children learn and behave. How a room is set up, how welcoming a space 'feels', and the ease of movement from one space to another can either enhance learning or harm learning.
Learning environments are nurturing spaces that support the development of all young children. They include classrooms, play spaces, areas for caregiving routines, and outdoor areas. Learning environments are well-organised and managed settings.