5 Key Ingredients for the Perfect Learning Environment

Author: Lara Jennings   Date Posted: 25 April 2015 

5 Key Ingredients for the Perfect Learning Environment

 

I have had the privilege of visiting several early learning centres of late. Each of them as unique as the last. But there is one thing they have all had in common. They are all making the most of the space they have no matter the size & shape of the room or location of centre. They are all striving to achieve amazing learning environments for children during the early years of life. This made me think about what the perfect learning space for early childhood should look like. So here are my five top tips for any learning environment:

 

1. Welcoming and engaging

 

 All children and parents who enter your learning space should feel like they belong there. Giving children their own part of the space, such as a locker for their bag, helps to promote that sense of belonging. Displaying photos of the children is another great way to make them feel they belong. You can do this with a birthday poster that has enough space for photos, with an about me display board, or simply hanging them along some string across the ceiling of the room. My son’s centre does this and every time I walk in I see his photo and it makes me smile.

 

2. Consistent and dependable

 

Children feel more comfortable when there is less change. I know we all love the fresh feeling when we rearrange the classroom but, according to the experts, children need consistency more than we need the change. It’s best to leave the furniture where it is and rotate the activities and resources through the space or centre instead.

 

3.  Bright colours are out and natural is in

 

Recent studies have shown that children are overstimulated when their environment is filled with bright colours and/or colourful displays. Natural colours allow them to focus on the task at hand without the distraction of the bright colours demanding their attention and affecting their mood. You can add softer colours such as blues, greens and pastels that have a calming influence and compliment the natural tones of any furnishings. It’s also a great idea to make your learning space as homely as possible with the use of soft materials such as throws, rugs and cushions. This helps new children feel more at ease and comfortable in the environment.  

 

4. Let in the light

 

Natural light also has a wonderful warmth to it. I recently sat in a lovely central space at a local early learning centre that had full length windows with no blinds on both sides and the effect this had was amazing! I could have spent all afternoon in there!

 

5. Mini learning areas

 

Setting up smaller, defined areas for learning is also key when you have a large space. Giving these areas clear boundaries will keep the children in that area focused on the chosen activity and also stop other children in other areas encroaching into each other’s space. You can create these boundaries with a small room divider or with some storage/book shelves. I love the layout of this room. The spaces are big enough for exploration of the activities in there and also well defined.

For some visuals on great learning environments for early childhood, click here to check out our Pinterest board.

  


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