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Our classroom and school environment

The environment plays a central and essential role within a Reggio-Inspired early childhood program in successfully creating a Reggio environment. Loris Malaguzzi, the founder of the Reggio Emilia approach, describes how educators view the Reggio environment and classroom “as a living organism, a place of shared relationships among the children, the teachers, and the parents… (creating) a feeling of belonging in a world that is alive, welcoming and authentic.” The environment plays such a significant role in creating a successful Reggio-Inspired program that it is often referred to as the “third teacher.” Reggio-Inspired programs give appropriate attention to the look and feel of the learning environment both within the classrooms as well as in the common spaces of the school. By giving consideration to how materials and documentation are displayed, the goal is to create an atmosphere that fosters creative exploration while also demonstrating respect for children’s work.

The learning space

In our setting, we have one classroom which we call ‘the learning space’. This consists of all the indoor space for children and all the outdoor space.


Here are some of our most important elements of the learning space:


  • The teachers are stationed, some are floating (move with children) and the children are active.  The children move freely and engage in activities that are self chosen for as long as their interest is present.

  • Academic learning is part of the child’s development just as developing social skills, good  communication skills, taking risks, being independent, being creative and imaginative and being curious. Most of these are more important than academic skills. We know the latter are important but the child needs to be ready.  We dont rush; we value play and the most important job of the children and the unique time called childhood.

  • Items, objects and  resources are arranged in an enticing, imaginative, inviting, and/or thoughtful way; the environment should not feel cluttered or institutional.

  • Within our environment there are elements of calculated risks because risk is empowering; climbing structures and buildings have elements that promote a healthy dose of risk taking.  

  • The walls are spaces for beautiful things like paintings and documentation displays. You will not see bright coloured displays used for rote learning. 

  • There is an  emphasis on natural, authentic resources and the use of loose parts as open ended materials that can take many roles in children's learning

  • There is an emphasis on children as capable learners that means educators do not do anything for the child that the child can do by themselves. Modeling remains part of the learning process but the children are expected to go through trial and error as part of them becoming confident learners. 

  • The educators are trained in using language with the children that promotes an enquiry based mind set. Praises such as a good job and well done and closed ended questions are avoided. Instead authentic praise and specific encouragement is part of our teacher's daily interaction with the children.

  • Children take an active role in cleaning and putting back resources and are reminded of the importance of caring for the environment around them.

  • Potty training is part of a child;s development and so children are nor required to be potty trained. We work with the family when a child shows readiness. 

  • Food preparation, fruits and vegetables play an important role in nurturing young children. We bake and cut fruit and vegetables everyday with the children.

  • Our school is a space for children. They lead in their play and we lead in enabling a play environment and setting boundaries for everyone to feel safe and respected

  • Areas of learning: atelier( art/creative space), woodwork, blocks, climbing and swings, swimming pool, waterplay, mud kitchen, sand area, movement and bikes, music, pretend indoor area, dress-up, food preparation, reading areas, numeracy area, interactive technology.

  • The educators are lifelong learners , snack area, selfcare and changing space, napping area.

See Engage Minds Learning in Action

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