3 ways a learning environment creates a solid foundation of experiences in early childhood education

The fascinating effect of your immediate surroundings on productivity, learning and creativity has been closely studied in recent years. Google’s Headquarters (known as Googleflex), located in Mountain View, California, features slides, sleeping booths, pool tables and brightly coloured décor, all for the purpose of creating the optimum platform for productivity and innovative creation. Similarly, Lego’s Headquarters, located in Billund, Denmark, offers sumptuous food from a gourmet cafeteria to inspire creativity and commitment to the company motto, ‘only the best is good enough’. With both companies at the height of their fields and just getting more powerful by the day, they must be doing something right.

Similarly, a nurturing, stimulating environment solidifies the foundation from which learning experiences can occur in early childhood. Three ways that a learning environment can be enhanced in home and childcare settings are by including different textures, colours and materials in the learning environment, by encouraging mess and by creating learning opportunities in outdoor spaces.

1. Enhancing learning through texture, colour and materials

Including an abundance of different textures, colours and building mediums in a learning space provides a stimulating basis for natural curiosity, exploration and discovery. The differences between a wooden table, featured next to a woollen rug and a vase of flowers are fascinating for a child and add excitement to a learning environment. At home, try to include toys of different shapes, sizes, textures, colours and materials in a play area to enhance a child’s interest and to stimulate a love of learning in your little one.

2. Encouraging free-flowing movement

Free flowing movement and autonomous self-discovery should also be encouraged in early learning centres and home learning spaces. As well as autonomous physical movement, it is important to allow mess and spills, both in childcare centre and home learning spaces as part of this principle. Breaking out the play dough, allowing for messy finger-painting and allowing uninhibited access to the sandpit will inspire your child to learn more – all whilst having fun!

3. The outdoors as a natural tool for learning

While all good early childhood learning centres offer exciting outdoor play spaces, fun slides and challenging activities, it is also important to create an outdoor learning space for children at home or outside of a childcare centre. Allowing children to feel different textures between their feet, to feel a warm breeze against their faces or to smell the delicious scent of a flower will provide endless opportunities for discovery and cognitive, physical and emotional growth. Setting up some puzzles on the lawn or taking a short trip to the park are examples of fun activities, which fuel infinite curiosity and learning.

Embracing a Reggio Emilia approach, Nido Early School offers beautiful, nature-inspired learning spaces and exciting, tailor-made outdoor playgrounds to children aged 6 weeks to school age. With 6 centres in Western Australia, Nido Early School Nedlands is excited to offer your first week free if you enrol before the 30 th of September*. For more information about what Nido Early School offers, or to book your tour, click here.

Originally published on Playgroup WA’s Little Things Blog