This is the first of a seven part series on creative learning environments for young children. I recently finished an online class by the same title and found it to be very interesting and helpful to me in my daily work with the children that I provide care for as well as for my own three year old. This series is based on some of the concepts and ideas I learned in this class
For a child to make the most of his or her environment it is important that the environment be safe, happy, enjoyable, and accommodating of the child's interests and needs. It is a major role of the caregiver - whether it be parent, teacher or childcare provider - to work to provide such an environment.
Play comes naturally for children and has a vital role in their development. The child's environment is very important to the child's learning through play. It is up to the caregiver to provide the child with an environment that encourages the child to discover new things, to be actively involved in their environment, to make choices, and to learn through experimentation.
Children enjoy having a variety of materials and activities to choose from that will be useful in learning more about the things that interest them. Learning is best accomplished when the material is tailored to the child's interests and own unique way of learning.
Children appreciate the chance to explore concepts and new ideas, or old ideas in new ways, with developmentally appropriate materials that are useful in their explorations of these ideas and concepts.