13 March 2019

At Nurtured at Home, our Educators regularly reflect on their indoor and outdoor environments so that children in care can experience a range of interesting and challenging play spaces. When the environment is set to inspire and engage children, then throughout their play they are learning and developing their physical, social and cognitive skills.

In the Reggio Emilia approach the environment is viewed as a place that is welcoming, authentic aesthetically pleasing, culturally representative of community, embraces nature and filled with purposeful materials.  The layout of the environment promotes relationships, communication, collaboration, and exploration through play.  Materials are thoughtfully added to the environment to promote creativity, thinking and problem-solving skills, questions, experimentation and open-ended play. 

Setting the environment for a sensory, playful and learning experience that is enticing and inspirational for infants, toddlers and young children enables us to use our imagination and consider what the space may look like from a child’s perspective. We should consider how the spaces may be used, allowing for uninterrupted play that children can engage with both individually as well as with and alongside others. Considering the interests of the children we can set the environment to provoke a child’s imagination so that they can explore their interests further using a range of engaging resources.

Nurtured at Home’s resource for Educators this month is a booklet that provides inspiration for developing outdoor spaces using a range of natural and recyclable materials, and a bit of imagination. Involving children in the set-up of a play space provides them with opportunities to brainstorm, plan, gather materials and be part of the design of an environment where their contributions are acknowledged.