Saturday, September 24, 2016

Enhancing Learning through the Environment

“ There are three teachers of children: adults, other children, and their physical environment.”

– Loris Malaguzzi

Last year, we invited some educators who we have connected with over social media to share a peak into their learning environment and to add their reflections about how their thinking has evolved. 

The journey to understand the importance of the learning environment has been a long one. As a team, we continue to reflect and make changes after conversations and visits to colleagues learning spaces. 

It is so important for educators to be reflective and intentional in all of the decisions that they make with regards to their environment. Too often, we replicate beautiful spaces without truly understanding why we are doing what we do. 

Always keeping in mind, "why are we making this change or decision?" and "how will it support student learning?".

Our decisions and choices are also connected to research and professional learning. These quotes help us both in understanding and explaining our decisions about the learning environment to administrators, colleagues, and parents:

Certain colours create a sense of calm, and others can energize or excite– Lisa Burman

“Our environments have a great influence on how we feel and behave and what we pay attention to” – Margie Carter and Deb Curtis

Unique Area in our Environment: Dance Studio
We have found providing a space for children to dance, move, and express themselves has supported self regulation in a natural, genuine context.

“We are not decorating learning spaces. We are designing them to amplify learning” (Hare and Dillion, 2016).

Flexible, Multipurpose Meeting Spaces:
We meet very little as a whole group, why designate an area that is just for that? Here we can build and meet.

Our Dance Studio is an alternate whole group meeting space. If we are saving a structure, if children need more time to tidy, or if we are wanting to use the whiteboard space we may meet here too!

The learning environment can either enhance learning, optimizing students’ potential to respond creatively and meaningfully, or detract from it”

(Kindergarten Curriculum 2016, pg 29)

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