ERIC Number: EJ769527
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Reference Count: 6
Making Your Environment "The Third Teacher"
Exchange: The Early Childhood Leaders' Magazine Since 1978, n176 p22-26 Jul-Aug 2007
The Italian Schools of Reggio Emilia are acclaimed for the stunning environments their educators have created, provoking us to recognize the instructive power of an environment. Their schools vibrantly exemplify learning environments that dazzle the senses, invite curiosity and discovery, and foster strong, respectful relationships. Unlike American early childhood classrooms, their walls are not covered with alphabet letters, calendars, and job charts. American programs have been developing a "culture of compliance" aimed at regulations, not dreams for children, and homogenization and institutionalization are spreading widely across the United States. The author of this article argues that it's time that we do some careful reexamination to see how our standards and rating scales have begun to limit our thinking, and how commercial and political interests are shaping more of what we do. She suggests that teachers can create flexible environments that are responsive to the need for children and teachers to construct knowledge together. Her recommendations go beyond merely thinking of a classroom environment as "home decorating" with a "superficial window dressing mindset," and instead emphasizes that the environment is itself a powerful teacher. Thinking about the environment as a communicator and shaper of values can stir up anew the significance of early care and education work. Appended is a worksheet for goal setting and addressing barriers.
Descriptors: Goal Orientation, Classroom Environment, Rating Scales, Reggio Emilia Approach, Educational Environment, Young Children, Early Childhood Education, Student Needs, Classroom Techniques
Exchange Press, Inc. P.O. Box 3249, Redmond, WA 98073-3249. Tel: 800-221-2864; Fax: 425-867-5217; e-mail: info@ChildCareExchane.com; Web site: www.childcareexchange.com
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Italy; United States