In the Reggio Emilia approach, environment is regarded as the third teacher. At Little Explorers, our learning spaces are more than just a physical space. They are purposefully set up to invite exploration, provoke curiosity, and create opportunities for learning. Materials have also been carefully selected to stimulate thinking, encourage questioning, and promote exchanges. We believe that materials that are open-ended with no predetermined function stimulate children’s innate openness to possibilities and potentials of materials. Natural materials serve this purpose very well.
A self-concept that one is a capable learner
Being curious about the world and finding the courage to explore, try, fail, and try again
Recognising that others may have different perspectives and that these different perspectives are important for one’s learning.
Forming engaging and mutually respectful relationships with others
The children are in their homerooms only for opening and closing circles, quiet reading time, and show and tell. Homeroom doors are only closed during these times to manage noise level and distraction. However, for the rest of the day, they are kept open. During these hours, children are encouraged to leave their homerooms and move freely between our learning spaces as guided by their own curiosity and interest, going back to the homeroom only when they need security, comfort or a break.
Great thoughts are taken in preparing the layout of the learning spaces. You will find that our learning spaces and materials will gradually change over the year in response to the children’s interest and growth. Learning spaces are set up to create opportunities for the following skills to develop:
Outdoor spaces have also been designed with the same values in mind. We have a water play area, a garden, vegetable plots, a playground, and a sandpit for children to explore. “Nature Walk” is built into our daily routine of outdoor exploration, during which children and teachers notice patterns of amazing things about nature. They can pick up fallen leaves, flowers, seeds or twigs and bring them back to their homeroom for further exploration and incorporate them into their project. The children may even discover insects and other animals in the garden, which allow for a range of animal related topics to be touched on.
Art and light ateliers are designed to fascinate the senses but not overwhelm them. Three days each week, the art therapist serving as our art atelierista, will join the children in the art atelier and support them through the process of understanding and expressing themselves, being creative and recreating the world as they see it through art.
Throughout our spaces, you will also find documentations of children’s exploration and learning. They provide traces of the learning experiences which become foundations for future learning.
Because the children in our programme are all under 4 years old, we have created our spaces to feel like home. Our “homerooms” are smaller than typical nursery classrooms in order to create the sense of safety and containment. They are designed to feel soft, comfortable, forgiving and loving. Homerooms provide a “safe ground” for our children.