Classroom learning environments can have a huge impact on the ways children learn, develop skills, gain confidence, and make connections. Even for very young children—infants, toddlers, and two-year-olds—environments help shape their learning. Laura Wilhelm, EdD— Vice President of Professional Learning at Kaplan Early Learning Company and author Enticing Environments for People Under Three— shares how early educators and caregivers can little by little create nurturing “classroom nests” for our youngest learners so that they can develop and grow in an environment where they feel both safe and stimulated.
Sometimes early childhood classrooms can be noisy and overstimulating to young children, leading to challenging behaviors, and decreased engagement and learning. Sandra Duncan—coauthor of Through a Child’s Eyes: How Classroom Design Inspires Learning and Wonder—compares the early childhood classroom to Times Square and explains why young children need comforting, secluded spaces where they can refresh and regroup just like adults do! Here are her 3 ideas for creating nurturing spaces of seclusion in the early childhood classroom, away from the hubbub and the noise.
Young children learn best by doing, and that includes learning basic values like compassion, cooperation, fairness, honesty, loyalty, pride, respect, responsibility, and self-regulation. In the list below, you will discover resources filled with information, activities, and experiences to help children develop social values at home or in early learning environments.
Many educators—even those who are not “clean freaks”—are often hesitant to implement the use of loose parts in the classroom because they believe it is just not worth the mess. A common myth is that loose parts are simply junk piled in a corner, overwhelming to look at or motivate children to use, and difficult to clean up. Suzanne Levenson Goldstein, EdD—co-author of Loose Parts Learning in K-3 Classrooms—dispels this myth and gives us 4 tips for cleaning up loose parts in the classroom. With organization and student involvement, clean-up can be a breeze and your students will gain all the learning benefits of using loose parts. Get the book for more guidance on using loose parts in the elementary classroom, from integration with curriculum to clean-up!