Learning Environments: An Introduction
Research tells us infants and toddlers 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 environment can help you meet the needs of infants and toddlers. This lesson highlights the importance of the environment and provides an overview of what to consider when creating and maintaining developmentally appropriate infant and toddler learning environments.
The Indoor Environment: Designing and Organizing
Just like adults, infant and toddlers get frustrated when they cannot easily move through an environment, or find what they need. It is our job as caregivers to make sure the classroom is thoughtfully designed and materials for play are well organized. This lesson highlights how to design your room for group activities, privacy, storage and display, with attention to all learners, including the adults. It provides an introduction to design elements that promote a sense of comfort and invite exploration and engagement. This lesson also examines how to organize materials for independence, easy use and learning.
The Outdoor Environment: Designing for Engagement
Outdoor learning environments offer infants and toddlers opportunities to further explore and discover different types of sights, sounds, smells, materials and surfaces. This lesson will highlight the importance of outdoor play as well as outline important factors to consider as you examine or redesign the outdoor learning environment.
The Environment: Materials
There are countless toys and materials available for infant–toddler classrooms. It can be difficult to decide what to include in your space. This lesson will help you ensure a variety of developmentally appropriate materials are available. You will read about how to choose materials based on cultural relevance, children’s interests, the material’s open-ended possibilities and children’s developmental goals.
The Environment: Schedules and Routines
Responsive schedules and routines help provide infants and toddlers with a sense of security through predictability. This lesson explores ways caregivers can create responsive schedules and routines to help infants and toddlers feel safe, relaxed and ready to explore and learn.