Our Learning Environments

Senior Area

This is a space specifically designed by and for children in our Senior Group.

The space allows the children to spend time in each others company completing projects at their own pace with their own resources.

It also allows this age group of children to engage in conversations and topics of interest which are age appropriate.

This space allows the children to apply their autonomy and demonstrate their sense of agency.

Home Corner

The home corner supports both individual and cooperative play. Many children spend considerable time in the home corner – stirring, filling, emptying, pouring, shaking, mixing, rolling, folding, zipping, buttoning, snapping, brushing, trying things on and taking them off. They may imitate cooking sequences they have seen at home or pretend to feed a doll or stuffed animal.

Children involved in exploring, imitating, and pretending in the home corner are often content to play by themselves or alongside others. Other children play there with friends, acting out familiar roles – moms, dads, stepparents, babies, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents, firefighters, store clerks, babysitters, pets.

Children also re-enact events they have experienced or heard about – visiting the dentist, going to the emergency room, moving, going shopping, talking on the phone, cleaning up after a flood, visiting daddy, having a birthday party, dressing up to “go out,” celebrating holidays, going to church, and attending weddings, funerals, picnics, and movies. By providing a setting for role play, the home corner allows children to make sense of their immediate world. Children have numerous opportunities to work together, express their feelings, and use language to communicate roles and respond to one another’s needs and requests

Construction

When children manipulate their environment to create things, they are engaged in constructive play. Experimenting with materials, they can build towers with blocks, construct objects with miscellaneous loose parts, play in the sand, and draw sidewalk murals with chalk. Children learn basic knowledge about stacking, building, constructing, and drawing, discovering which combinations work and which don’t.

Constructive play focuses the minds of children through their fingertips to invent and discover new possibilities. It is a form of hands-on inquiry where children seek to learn something they don’t already know by physically manipulating materials. They have a natural desire to find out things for themselves, and children build knowledge through active questioning and information gathered as they engage in constructive play.

School Age children are able to play for longer periods of time at one activity. They move from functional play, where the child uses materials in simple, repetitive, and exploratory ways, to constructive play with purposeful activities that result in creation. Children’s desire to create is satisfied with open-ended materials, such as blocks, paints, scissors, paste, paper, carpentry tools, wood, sand, and water.

On the playground or in classrooms, sand boxes offer a great opportunity for constructive play. Using shovels, buckets, and other containers and toys, children have an endless number of opportunities for exploration. Playing with sand encourages the imagination and creativity of children.

Constructive play develops imagination, problem-solving skills, fine motor skills, and self-esteem.5 Research has shown that block building can help children learn important spatial relationships needed for mathematics.6 Children who are comfortable in manipulating objects become good at manipulating words, ideas, and concepts. Creating gives children a sense of accomplishment. Controlling their environment empowers them, especially since there is no right or wrong in their creation. Constructive play helps children develop character virtues, such as tenacity, flexibility, creativity, courage, enthusiasm, persistence, and adaptability. Social interaction and shared imaginations are often involved in constructive play, which leads to children learning to cooperate, stay on task, self-regulate, and be more responsible.

Nature Spaces

Children can get dirty, create, climb, splash and burn off steam in natural spces.

Research shows that natural playgrounds provide children with more opportunities than typical pre-formed playgrounds to develop gross-motor skills. It is well documented that contact with nature has been associated with a number of health benefits for children, such as improved cognitive function, increased creativity, improved interaction with adults, reduced attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms and reduced rates of aggression.

In addition, the report 'Children's contact with the outdoors and nature: a focus on educators and educational settings' prepared by the Children & Nature Network synthesises research and studies that focus on the impact of nature education and educational settings.

Key benefits of Natural Spaces include:

Children who play regularly in natural settings are sick less often. Mud, sand, water, leaves, sticks, pine cones and gum nuts can help to stimulate children's immune system as well as their imagination.

Children who spend more time outside tend to be more physically active and less likely to be overweight.

Children who play in natural settings are more resistant to stress; have lower incidence of behavioural disorders, anxiety and depression; and have a higher measure of self-worth.

Children who play in natural settings play in more diverse, imaginative and creative ways and show improved language and collaboration skills. Single use, repetitive play equipment becomes boring quickly.

Natural, irregular and challenging spaces help kids learn to recognise, assess and negotiate risk and build confidence and competence.

Children who play in nature have more positive feelings about each other.

Bullying behaviour is greatly reduced where children have access to diverse nature-based play environments.

Symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder are reduced after contact with nature.

Reflective Spaces

Having a designated quiet room allows a child to choose to take time out to be still and quiet.

It gives the child a chance to refresh their mind and body.

It helps children to focus and concentrate.

Children may develop an understanding of their own need to stop and relax for a while

It helps children build skills in managing stress and other big feelings

It helps to prevent over stimulation

It gives children a special space just for them, which may help with self esteem and building inner confidence.

It provides an opportunity for children to think and reflect upon their day, developing self awareness and promoting positive behaviour.

Creative Spaces

Did you know, Art involves unstructured activities in which you can explore with your imagination, whereas crafts involve structured activities with a specific goal in mind.

When children participate in both arts and crafts, creativity and imagination receive strong stimulation. A child with a paintbrush in his hand suddenly has the ability to create vivid paintings and express himself boldly with colour and brush strokes. The child can also learn about symbolic communication through the art he creates, choosing various colours to communicate feelings.

With exposure to various types of arts and crafts, a child can develop her own individual craftsmanship interests. Working with clay might spark a strong interest in pottery for a child, who can then go on to develop and enhance her skills and talents. The child can benefit from setting goals for achievement. As a child improves, she can also look back on her progress to note the strengthening and refinement of her skills.

If you integrate art and crafts into children's academics, children can derive additional benefits. Many literacy and mathematical concepts can become easier to comprehend and even more interesting with the addition of art. For example, if a child draws a picture or creates a sculpture of a character from a story, he may boost his reading comprehension and interest in literature. A child who uses artistic manipulatives such as paper shapes and beads can gain mastery of mathematical concepts due to the hands-on nature of the items.

Life Skills

As your child creates a work of art, she has begun the process of communicating visually, advises author and educator MaryAnn F. Kohl, writing for Barnes and Noble Kids’ Expert Circle. A youngster also builds problem-solving skills, fine motor skills and even social skills as she works with artistic media. The process of making her own creations and noticing other people’s creations provides important opportunities for the appreciation of other people’s strengths and acceptance of her own abilities. A child also learns that the ability to follow directions is an integral part of the satisfaction of seeing the final result when making a craft.