Home-based Early Learning Program

Added Advantage 

Serving London, Ontario 

Using the Environment as aTeacher
  • Acts as a third teacher through providing rich, inspiring, and open ended materials of interest to the children.
  • Key in creating connections and a sense of belonging between the children, their families and the community. Involving children in the collection of materials enhances their interest and helps to create pride and ownership in environment.
  • It provides a selection of materials that engage the senses and are ground in ‘natural’ or ‘real’ materials found in everyday life.
  • Environments are clearly organized to be inviting, promote creativity and be visually beautiful.
  • Materials are free to move around the room based on children’s investigations and play – when done they are returned to their ‘homes’.

As you think of your own environments, ask yourself:

  • How does my room give the children and educators a sense of belonging and offer connections?
  • How does my room engage all five senses through access to natural materials?
  • How does my room provoke wonder and curiosity and intellectual engagement?
  • Is my room arrangement of materials to rigid or does it keep the space flexible and open-ended?

Emergent environments are:

  • Child centered and enrich all the senses. Educators pay close attention not only to how the room looks but how it feels, smells, sounds.
  • Have many opportunities for exploration in light, shadow and reflection. Light can being colour to a room, be used to create wonder, foster creativity at a light table, combine mediums, make small things large
  • How you set up materials can foster relationships…setting up situation where children need to share, pass around, negotiate the use of varied materials, etc.
  • Rich in open ended materials from nature and the world around them. Materials are organized, inviting, inspiring and engaging! Open ended materials allow for self expression, foster language development, enhance patterning and classification skills, opportunities for building / constructing interesting structures, with lots of experimentation and exploration in colour!
  • Labeling homes help children take responsibility for their own classroom organization, fostering respect for materials and other peoples desires to access them.
  • Materials are set up to invite everyone to come in to play area, encourage role playing, providing exposure to real tools. Places to relax, places to grow, full of surprises.

Environments are focused on celebrating childrens work:

  • The more we honor their work, the more value they see in their experiences and then the BIGGER they express themselves!
  • The time and detail that children can put into their representations with access to a variety of inspiring materials is remarkable.
  • Chronicling and celebrating their progress honors them!
  • We can also honor them by exposure and experience with many varied mediums!
  • Creating varied styles of galleries to show case their work that displays their understanding of the world around them.
  • Feeling stumped about materials in your classroom – challenge the people in your community to come up with new ideas for old materials.
  • One thing I do with a material is ask the children “I wonder what else we could use this for or do with this?”
  • Still feeling stumped for new ways to use materials – I often have team meetings were I bring an item to the meeting and brainstorm ways we can use this item in the classroom with other educators.

Creating Inviting Space

                                                   

I feel this is a wonderful example of 'setting the stage through creating inviting spaces'. Lots of discoveries could be made here! Photo from a Reggio inspired preschool in London, ON