I am at awe with the amount of creativity and dedication that teachers and homeschool parents are putting in preparing the learning environment. In the Reggio Emilia philosophy , the environment is considered the third teacher alongside the teacher/adult and the children. The past few months I am learning a lot about creating children’s spaces based on this premise and excited to see how crucial it is in promoting not just learning but also a sense of ownership for our children (espcially now that we just moved in our new house). A nook is not just a nook anymore in the same vein that a hallway is not just a hallway. But how to set the environment for engagement?
Here are some favorite blogs/sites of mine that capture the essence of how the environment engages children:
a. Transforming Our Environment to a Space of Possibilities – a very dedicated kindergarten teacher shares with everyone the transformations (and learning) she has put in place in her classroom. I would definitely want my children learning in such an environment and with such a passionate teacher!
b. Let the Children Play: Beautiful Learning Spaces in Reggio inspired preschools – an inspiring list of preschool environments that is sure to make every educator re-think of the possibilities in their classrooms.
c. Added Advantage Home-based Early Learning Program has written about her journey to a Reggio Inspired environment for her home-based early learning program. She has also made a wonderful compilation of photos on Creating Inviting Spaces.
I also posted about the learning space I made for our children at “A Letter from Mama for Valentines” and I will definitely post some pictures of the new house. I’m sure there are other good sites, what are your favorites?
I am sure that such links can open wonderful ideas and frustrations especially for those working in a rigid school environment. But for those willing to try their hand in making the environment as a third teacher I would also suggest the use of Invitations to Play as a starting point. How to do that? Teach Preschool has offered various ideas on how to set up Invitations to Play opportunities. Check out her “An Invitation to Play Tutorial” to get a good start on making invitation to play settings and don’t forget to also read “An Invitation to Play Throughout the Learning Environment” to get a jump start on engaging children through the environment.