The Classroom Environment
The environment suits the natural movements and developmental needs of the children. Each classroom is made up numerous learning centers, which reflect our curriculum goals. These areas offer specific learning materials accessible to all of the children throughout the day. Teachers use the different classroom areas to initiate and organize group activities. Children may also move freely about the classroom as they chose to interact with one another and/or the materials.
The classroom learning centers enable children to develop important emotional and social skills. In these centers, children may work individually or in small groups. As children plan what they would like to do and carry out their own plans, they learn how to be responsible for their own actions. The centers also foster independence by inviting children to direct their own play, which helps them learn ways to problem solve and play cooperatively with each other. Children are also less likely to have conflicts when they are investigating their own interests and constructing knowledge in ways that are meaningful to them.
The learning centers enable children to strengthen important physical and cognitive skills. For example, the limited amount of space in the centers makes the children aware of how many children can work in each area. They learn important pre-math and cognitive skills just by counting how many children are in an area and how many spaces are available. In the art center children are free to create projects individually or to join in a project that is initiated by teachers. Children work with materials to experience and create their own individual artwork and constructions. Our outside planter garden cultivated by our students teaches them the value of fresh food, healthy eating, and nutrition.
Designing the classroom is an ongoing process by which the teachers support the children’s development and encourage them to try new experiences. As themes change throughout the year so do the materials offered in the centers. As the children progress, teachers offer more difficult materials for them to work with, providing a well-balanced and challenging curriculum.