Early Learning Environments That Work


The classroom environment is a vital part of a child's learning experience. Early Learning Environments that Work! explores how you can manipulate furniture, color, materials, storage, lighting, and more to encourage learning through classroom arrangement. Spaces and activity centers that support children's independence and decision-making allow them to make the environment their own. Each chapter gives you detailed illustrations and photographs to help you set up or arrange ...

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The classroom environment is a vital part of a child's learning experience. Early Learning Environments that Work! explores how you can manipulate furniture, color, materials, storage, lighting, and more to encourage learning through classroom arrangement. Spaces and activity centers that support children's independence and decision-making allow them to make the environment their own. Each chapter gives you detailed illustrations and photographs to help you set up or arrange what you already have in the classroom.

Dr. Rebecca Isbell is Director of Tennessee's Center of Excellence in Early Childhood Learning and a Professor at East Tennessee State University. Her best-selling books from Gryphon House include Tell It Again!, Tell It Again 2!, and The Complete Learning Center Book.

This is Betty Exelby's first book for Gryphon House. She lives in Canada.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Two of the most important elements in early childhood learning are a loving, caring teacher and an environment that matches the curiosity and development of the child. Gone are the days when young children spent the first four years of their life in a 48-inch square portable playpen. An effective early childhood program must incorporate learning centers, projects and thematic approaches in order to stimulate the brain of the young child. The authors have presented the reader with their findings concerning early childhood learning as a result of extensive travel abroad, particularly in Italy. The book addresses the four Ws of journalism by giving us the who, why, when, where and how of early learning environments in an-easy-to follow guidebook. Supply lists, diagrams and explanations of unfamiliar terms help the teacher to make these environment changes at a nominal cost. An index is included. However, the reader will notice the absence of any color pictures in this guidebook. 2001, Gryphon House, $24.95. Ages Adult. Reviewer: Joyce Rice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780876592564
  • Publisher: Gryphon House, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/1/2001
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Christy Isbell, Ph.D., is the Program Director and Associate Professor for the Occupational Therapy Program at Milligan College in Tennessee. She teaches child development, human development, and pediatric therapy courses for the Masters of Occupational Therapy Program. Additionally, Dr. Isbell is Board Certified in Pediatrics and maintains specialty training in sensory integration and neuro-developmental treatment techniques.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 The Power of the Environment and Its Impact on Children
Today's Children
The Goals of This Book
Questions to Be Examined in This Book
A Caring, Knowledgeable Teacher: A Critical Component
An Environment That Matches Young Children
Infants and Toddlers
Preschoolers' Development
Brain Development During the Early Years
Auditory Environment
Visual Environment
Integrated Environment
Emotional Environment
Independent Learners
Behaviors of Children
A Place to Begin: Adding Beauty to the Place
Chapter 2 Contemporary Childcare Spaces
An Overview of Current Childcare Spaces
Another Way to Look at the Early Childhood Classroom
The Children in the Environment
Teachers and Staff in the Environment
Children, Parents, and Teachers
A Place to Begin: Teachers and Staff Display
Chapter 3 The Teacher's New Role: Designer
An Introduction to Design Principles
Ground Rules for Well-Designed Spaces for Children
How to Begin Classroom Transformations
Collect Information
Furniture Notes
Sensory Notes
Discover Personal Preference
A Design Reference Collection
An Accessory Idea File
Topics for the Design Reference Collection and the
Accessory Idea File
A Place to Begin: Take a Designer's Look
Chapter 4 Principles of Meaningful Environment
Meaningful Childcare Environments
Does It Matter?
Materials for Children
How to Recognize a Meaningful Environment
A Child's Sense of Space
Generating a Feeling of Home
A Plan of Action
Getting the Help of Parents
Differences in Play
Making Spaces Beautiful
Appealing to the Human Senses
Open and Transparent
Impact of Arrangement
Environmental Decoration
A Place to Pause
A Place to Rest
A Place for Communicating
A Place for Work and Play
Personal Things and Personal Places
A Case Study: The Reggio Emilia Approach
What Makes the Reggio Emilia Approach Unique?
A Place to Begin: The Art Studio
Chapter 5 Aspects of Quality Environments for Children
Places and Spaces: The Materials Needed to Create Them
Quality vs. Quantity of Space
The Configuration and Evaluation of Space
Materials and Furnishings
Type and Quality
Quality Standards
Inspecting the Environment
A Place to Begin: Softening With Pillows
Chapter 6 Assessing What You Have
Environmental Design Experiences
Examining Three Environments
The First Environment
The Second Environment
Another Environment
Travel Along a New Path--Personal, Environmental, and Team Inventories
Personal Inventory
Scanning the Environment
The Environment Scan
The Team Inventory
Ways to Review Existing Spaces
Learning to See
A Photographic Scan
Ways to Revisit Your Own Experiences
Visit Other Settings Designed for Children
Sketches of Materials and Environments
Awareness of Place
An Inventory of Environmental Tools
Professional Tools for Environmental Study
Informal Tools
A Place to Begin: Museum or Art Gallery
Chapter 7 Making a Plan That Works for You
Designing Your Classroom Space
What Happens in This Place?
A Professional Look at the Classroom
A Drawing of the Classroom
Measuring the Room
The Classroom on Graph Paper
Furniture and Movable Units
Taking Photographs of the Classroom
Evaluate the Current Environment
Placement of Activity Zones
Learning Centers
Bubble Drawings for the Activity Zones
Zone Placement
Traffic Pattern
How to Track Movement
Developing a Master Plan: Goals for the Environment
Possible Helpers
A Place to Begin: Beautiful Fabrics
Chapter 8 The Designer's Toolbox
How a Classroom Comes to Life
First Things First: Clutter Control
The Vision of Your Classroom
Where to Find Classroom Materials and Furnishings
In the Classroom
At Home
Other Sources and Resources
Innovative Ideas
Storage: A Constant Concern
Impact on the Program
Space and Activity Center Differences
Principles of Good Storage
Design File: Storage
Sufficient and Appropriate Storage
Types of Storage
Shelving Materials and Support
Attaching Shelves to Walls
Getting the Job Done
Posted Reminders
The Designer's Toolbox
Basic Tools
An Organizer Box
Additional Tools for the Collector
Purchasing Lumber
Lumber Sizes
Other Lumber Sources
Finding Help
Building Together
Seek Expert Help, But...
A Place to Begin: Simple Items to Construct
Piano Hinge Table
Art Carousel
Chapter 9 Enriching the Environment
Visual Displays
Tools Needed for Creating Displays
Essential Tools
Photographs of Work: Documentation
Photographic Slides
Function of Displays
Two-Dimensional Children's Displays
Three-Dimensional Displays
Hanging Displays
Working and Sitting Places
Carpet-Covered Risers
Spool Tables
Carpet and Rugs
Growing Plants in the Early Childhood Environment
Good Plant Possibilities
Plant Display
An Easy-to-Make Plant Rack
A Wonderful Indoor Window Box
Good Bulb Possibilities
Garden Plants That Come Inside
Avoid These Plants
A Place to Begin: Growing Plants
Chapter 10 Extending Your Understanding
Classic Resources About Early Childhood Environments
Appendix A Inventory Form
Appendix B Equipment Checklist
Appendix C Environment Scan
Appendix D Team Inventory
Appendix E Space--Materials/Equipment--Activities Profile
Appendix F Wall Fasteners, Support Systems, and Span Distances
Appendix G Storage Ideas
Appendix H Nails
Appendix I Anthropometric Chart for a Child-Scaled Environment
Appendix J Centers
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