The Importance of the Right Environment in Early Learning

Education has been evolving for thousands of years and in the past 50 years, we began to understand how the learning process best occurs and we developed an active learning strategy. We also know just how important the classroom environment is and forward-thinking schools in Australia have made the switch from the traditional rows of student desks to a less formal, group learning environment.

Early Learning Resources

These should be primarily made from natural materials such as wood and the ideal kindergarten classroom would have many learning resources kept on shelves around the room. Things like:

  • Building Blocks
  • Puzzles
  • Hand Manipulation Toys
  • Small balls
  • Clay

Beads are also ideal, as they can be put into specific holes, which develops dexterity and finger coordination. Art is another essential activity for young learners, along with movement, which growing children need.

Classroom Furniture

Take a look at the unique school furniture chairs from Grocorp, one of Australia’s leading school furniture suppliers with a range of group tables and chairs that are designed for young kids. Low level tables are very popular, as the children like to sit on the floor and work together, which is a more natural approach. The other popular arrangement is small chairs and round tables, seating 4-6 children around one table if necessary, making it ideal for small projects.

Soft, Pastel Colours

Many years of research shows us that soft, pastel colours are best for the early learning classroom; Rudolph Steiner was a great educator in the early 20th century who pioneered active learning and he recommended pastel colours to decorate the classroom. The famous Emilia Reggio schools all decorate their classrooms with linen cloth and walls of pale blues, greens and pinks, as Steiner advised. Avoid using bright colours when decorating a classroom, as this diverts the attention of the young learners.

Posting Student Work

Walk into any proactive classroom and you will see examples of the students’ work adorning the walls, which acts as a positive reinforcement for their abilities and creates a sense of pride. The layout of the room should be one that easily facilitates moving things to create an open space for movement activities. If your child seems stressed, have them watch cute animal videos, which is believed to be very beneficial.

Safe Play

This is a critical element for every young learner, a soft-play area where they can experiment with balance and see what happens if they jump or bounce. You can’t allow young kids total freedom unless they are in a soft-play environment where there are no hard edges or even hard materials, and every decent early learning program would have an indoor and outdoor soft-play area for the kids to explore. Click here for Australian government information about early learning.

With the right environment, young kids develop very quickly and with teachers that model good behaviour and ethics, the children will prepare themselves for the primary years. If you are home-schooling due to the pandemic, the above recommendations still apply and with a little creativity, you can create a pleasant learning environment for your child.