Environment As A Third Educator

An emergent curriculum calls for creativity and “just in time” teaching and learning. Your curriculum should be set up each week with a play lead that emerges from the interests of the children.

The Designated Early Childhood Educator in the classroom will have the knowledge and experience to set up each learning play centre, the teacher will have the insight into what expectations need to be fulfilled and various strategies to promote literacy and math within their play. Together these two professions work hand and hand with endless possibilities and creativity that promote purposeful,intentional play experiences that are fun and engaging!

Planning together as co educators, with parents and children takes commitment. Effective planning commands time, communication and respect for all and what we all bring to the classroom and the learning. As of now, some FDK programs are finding this planning time hard to grasp, and this now more then ever will be where your sense of team work and commitment to the program must prevail!

We create our classroom together. The children create the alphabet frieze, math wall, calander, labels, and assist in putting new furniture together. We show them that we value their art work by framing it and taking pictures of their creations. We choose specific materials to place in the centres to provide a focus and help direct the intentionality of the play.

When planning centers, choose leads that will promote inquiry, and higher order thinking skills. There is never a shortage of leads and inquiry within the classroom due to children’s natural sense of wonder and curiosity about their world. Choose leads that provide rich educational experiences. From the simplest ideas, great discoveries are made! We have had the most success from the simplest ideas, such as a fascination with shadows on the playground, new snail friends carried into our classroom, animals in our playground (fox), a conversation about space, even seeds found in our snacks.
Our Centre Planning Template – Click to view.
Centre Planning Template

Careful planning of each centre ensures that the development of math and literacy concepts and skills are encouraged.
Providing books, paper, pencils, clip boards, chalk boards and purpose for using these materials. We have found success in planning for play before we begin. We share materials and resources that can be found in these centers, and building a sense of excitment for what they can do in these play centers. Ideas are shared driving literacy and numeracy development by encouraging the writting of invitations, signs, lists, books, plans etc. As we send them off to play each child is asked “Where would you like to start your learning and play today? What will you do there?”

“…learning environments that dazzle our senses, invite curiosity and discovery, and most importantly, foster strong, respectful relationships. Reggio educators seem to have a different notion about the role of the environment in educating children, for unlike the typical U.S. early childhood classroom, their walls aren’t covered with alphabet letters, calendars, and job charts. Nor do you find commercially produced bulletin board displays, labels on every shelf and surface, or rules posted”. (http://www.eccenb-sepenb.com/uploads/Website_Assets/Making_Environment.pdf)

Within a curriculum lead, there is room for flexibility to incorporate individuality, independence and truly follow each child’s interest wherever it may go!