Learning Environments: An Introduction
Research tells us that children learn best in environments where they can have secure relationships with caring and responsive adults, where they feel safe, and where they feel free to explore and learn. A well-arranged family child care environment can help you meet children’s needs during play and routines. This lesson highlights the importance of the environment and provides an overview of what to consider when creating and maintaining a developmentally appropriate environment for a mixed-age group of children.
The Indoor Environment
You, your family, and the children you care for share space in your home. Your most important task in designing and organizing your home environment is to make sure each individual feels safe and secure. There are many ways to create a warm, welcoming environment that also serves as a home for your own family members. This lesson examines how to design and organize your family child care setting.
The Outdoor Environment
Outdoor learning environments offer children opportunities to explore, create, move, and develop an appreciation for nature. In this lesson, you will learn about the importance of outdoor environments and how to intentionally design your outdoor space to promote learning, engagement, and active play.
There are many different types of materials available for mixed-age groups of children. This lesson will help you think about which materials to provide for the children in your family child care home. You will learn about how to choose materials based on cultural relevance and anti-bias, children’s individual interests, the materials’ open-ended possibilities, and children’s developmental needs.
Schedules and Routines
Responsive schedules and routines help all children feel safe and secure and shows them that caregivers support their individual needs. At the same time, when caring for groups of children, it is important to provide a predictable daily schedule. This lesson will focus on providing a schedule that is flexible but meets children’s need for routine and play.