It seems that with almost every study that comes out revealing new insights into how the brain best learns, early childhood seems to be the key. Not only do we find the building blocks for future educational success, but also more knowledge about how to make early childhood more beneficial for our youngest students. With that awareness comes ideas on how to make early childhood education spaces more productive.
In all levels of school, we are seeing the value of allowing students to explore the world using their own intellect and creativity. This is particularly important in early childhood, where students get to explore how the world itself works at the most fundamental levels. There are ways to help this process along.
Playhouses, a staple in early childhood classrooms, should be modernized to reflect today’s technology, shifting gender roles, and the 21st century’s multi-cultural society. Use of manipulatives, blocks, and art media should be widely available. Seating should be varied, providing for each student’s modalities and collaboration.
Surrounded by literacy
For years, early childhood literacy has been accomplished through direct instruction. That is still effective, but new research suggests that even allowing students independent interaction with letters and numbers helps build fluency. Every classroom should surround students with them.
To create an inviting space for reading, all you need is a cozy corner with comfortable seating and book displays and storage units.
Technology in early childhood
Children as young as a year old can navigate today’s handheld devices. They are true digital natives whose skills will grow with the speed of the technology itself. Not only should today’s early childhood classroom reflect those needs with furnishings that keeps devices safe and charged, but it should also prepare students to contribute to that world through STEM experiences and toys that teach students the basics of logic, which is the foundation of coding and design.
This article is a summary of “The right environment for today’s early learners.” from our 2017 Projects by Design Idea Book.
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