12 Pillars - Environment, the 3rd Teacher
'To assist a child we must provide them with an environment which will enable them to develop freely.' Maria Montessori
Our learning environments, indoor and outdoor, are organic foundations of our educational programs and will flow and change with the children's interests. Educators reflect on the environments and aim to create a space that is intentional and purposeful in order to help foster and encourage relationships and connection, inspire wonder and invite children to experiment and delve deeper in their learning using a variety of mediums. Each environment reflects children's agency and is specifically tailored to meet their developmental needs and skills. Our learning spaces encourage children to be active contributors and influencers in their own worlds. It is vital that our learning spaces are aesthetically pleasing and we also utilise sustainable and natural resources for the children to use. Natural materials create lots of opportunities for children to engage their senses as they look, touch and smell a complex array of textures, materials, patterns and uses. We have a strong focus on open ended materials where the children have access to a large variety of items, materials and resouces and have complete freedom and autonomy on how and when they would like to use them. Each learning space consists of different open ended learning areas to stimulate and engage children in fun and creative ways-cognitive, science and mathematics, literacy, art studio, loose parts, dramatic play, construction and engineering as well as a child friendly cleaning/self serve space.
Drawing inspiration from the Reggio Emilia and Montessori philosophies the environment is utilised as the third teacher, being responsive and flexible to the needs of both children and educators to be able to create and maintain and incredible, interesting and engaging learning space. The environmet reflects and role models the values we wish to share and communicate with the children. An environment can help shape and define a child's identity as an individual, a capable learner, a leader, an innovator in their own right. We work to instill wonder and magic in and out of the classroom to inspire curious learners to explore, wonder, discover and investigate in their own unique ways, in their own space and their own time.