An Environment that Positively Impacts Young Kids

Jun 25 08:29 2012 LizzieMilan Print This Article

An effectively designed classroom has the potential for positively influencing all areas of kids’ development: physical, social /emotional, and cognitive. Language and learning are nurtured in an environment that values and plans appropriate opportunities.

How Kids Understand the Environment
Young kids strive to make sense of the world in which they live. They try to organize the visual images and concrete objects in their environment into meaningful systems. Kids want to determine how the space works and what activities can happen in this place.Today's young kids are spending a large number of hours in a "new" environment—child care.

An Environment those Matches Young Kids
the first step in creating an appropriate environment for infants,Guest Posting toddlers, and preschool kids is to examine how young kids learn and develop. Each stage of development has unique characteristics that influence how a child will experience his or her environment.
Preschoolers are active learners who continue to examine materials while beginning to use objects in more complex combinations. Learning centers are effective ways to organize and support these developing abilities. The center areas clearly communicate to preschoolers what activity occurs in this area and the available materials that will stimulate their play. Traditional centers as well as unique centers encourage language interactions, socio-dramatic play, and the construction of experiences based on their level of understanding. By adding literacy materials including books, paper and writing tools, this construction will include "reading and writing" opportunities.

Brain Development during the Early Years
Early childhood educators and neurologists agree that the first eight years are a critical time of brain development. Infants come into the world with a brain waiting to be woven into the complex fabric of the mind. Some neurons in the brain are wired before birth, but many are waiting to be programmed by early experiences. The early environment where young kids live will help determine the direction of their brain development. Kids who have severely limited opportunities for appropriate experiences will be delayed; this may permanently affect their learning. But, kids who have the opportunity to develop in an organized and appropriate environment are challenged to think and use materials in new ways.

Windows of Opportunity
Montessori course research indicates that there are important "windows of opportunity" that exist during the early years. Appropriate and interesting experiences, during the early years, in these specific areas can have a positive impact on the child's current development as well brain connections that will last a lifetime.

Visual Environment
During the first eight years, kids are developing their visual acuity. Their perceptions of objects, movement, and print are expanded as they have opportunities for experiencing interesting visual images. Changes and variations of design intrigue kids and cause them to visually attend to the unusual. The young child's environment that includes interesting visual aspects draws them to examine a painting on the wall or recognize a drawing that they have completed. Displays and panels provide visually interesting content to examine as kids move about in the classroom space.

Integrated Environment
Young kids make many connections when they participate in meaningful activities. Integrated activities that connect several types of learning are particularly effective for preschool kids. These experiences provide stimulation for several portions of the brain and make additional connections that extend learning. Some of the experiences that are particularly powerful for integrated learning and building connections are learning centers, thematic episodes, and projects. To support integrated learning, materials must be readily accessible to the play areas and stored so that they can be selected and included in the play. To encourage the continuation of projects, there must be places to carefully store objects while the work is in progress.

Emotional Environment
It has been suggested that the emotions of kids are strongly influenced by the responsiveness of the caregiver during the first years of life. Kids who feel secure and supported will experiment, try new things, and express their ideas.The appropriate emotional environment also respects young kids, while understanding individual differences. This means that each child has a place to collect "valuable" things—their pictures and work are displayed in the classroom. There is a place where the child can retreat when things get too busy, or when he becomes tired.

Independent Learners
an independent learner is able to make personal choices and carry out an appropriate plan of action. An effective environment is designed so even the youngest of kids can become independent. There are many opportunities for them to be successful as they work to do things for themselves. They are not dependent on the teacher and constantly asking for every material they need. An orderly display of accessible materials grouped together will help kids understand that they are capable of making decisions. The environment will communicate to them, "you can make the selection, you have good ideas, and you can carry out the plan for yourself."

Influence of Environment on Kids’ Behaviors
The environment in which young kids live tells them how to act and respond. A large open space in the center of the classroom clearly invites young kids to run across the area. If few materials are available to use, kids will create interesting happenings, including conflict. Kids learn to be respectful of their environment if they have opportunities to care for beautiful objects and materials.

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About Article Author


Lizzie Milan holds Master’s in Psychology Degree. She was working as supervisor in diploma in teacher education.
Currently, she is working as course co-ordinator for montessori course & pre primary teacher training course since last 20 years.

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