Learning Environments: An Introduction
Research tells us that children learn best in safe, secure environments. Warm, secure relationships with caring adults provide the basis for healthy development. This lesson highlights the importance of the family child care 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. There are many components to attend to: places for quiet and busy activities, privacy, storage and display, food preparation, and rest. 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, engage in movement, and develop an appreciation for nature. In this lesson, you will learn about the importance of outdoor environments. As you intentionally design your outdoor space, you will come to know how children learn through playing outdoors.
There are many different types of materials available for mixed-age groups of children. As a family child care provider, you will need to carefully choose which materials to have available in your home. This lesson will help you think about which materials to provide for the children in your care. You will learn about how to choose materials based on cultural relevance, 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. Being responsive to children’s daily rhythms 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.