Much design and ingenuity went into creating the perfect early learning environment. Lots of thought went into the functionality and safety of both the indoor space as well as the outdoor classroom. Little things make this space work.
We have a very large indoor classroom that is set up as an active learning environment. The term active learning comes from the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, a leading force in the development of preschool curriculum and age appropriate learning environments for young children. We also have a separate area for infant napping and diaper changing, a bathroom located just off the playroom for quick access, a full kitchen set up just for little bodies, and a full library and curriculum development room for preschool planning.
“Because the physical setting has a strong impact on the behavior of children and adults, the High/Scope Curriculum places a strong emphasis on planning the layout of the preschool or center and selecting appropriate materials. An active learning environment provides children with ongoing opportunities to make choices and decisions. Thus, adults organize play space into specific interest areas to support preschool children’s abiding interest in such activities as sand and water play, building, pretending and role play, drawing and painting, “reading” and “writing,” counting, sorting, climbing, singing, and dancing. The interest areas contain a wide and plentiful assortment of easily accessible materials children can choose and use to carry out their intentions and ideas for play” (Educating Young Children, High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, Hohmann & Weikart).
The same philosophy carries over to our outdoor classroom, where nature is our focus.
“We should value the design of spaces for play as much as we value the children who use those spaces. We need to recognize the substantial contribution carefully crafted urban spaces can make to our children’s lives and the lives of our communities. And though children’s playgrounds may not change the urban environment on a macro scale, they have the potential to change the world in small, meaningful ways. A well-designed playground offers a chance for a child – and a community – to explore, to imagine, and to take risks.” (ix; foreword by Martha Thorne, Associate Curator of Architecture at The Art Institute of Chicago)
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