2. Environment Serves as a Teacher
Much care and consideration is placed into every space the children occupy. In the Reggio Emilia philosophy of learning, the environment is considered the 3rd teacher. This means the physical space around the children should look inviting, inspire curiosity, challenge their thinking, and reflect their ongoing learning processes. Each classroom has a mini-atelier with various loose parts and quality art materials such as paint, glue, markers, clay, play dough, and various other art materials that are readily available to the children . By allowing children full access to materials, we are conveying to the children that they are trustworthy and capable. Reggio children do not clamor when they see a light table full of rocks, pebbles, shells, paints, glue, markers and paper.
The children come to calmly use everything purposefully because materials have always been within their reach.
As the children explore the classroom, every area is carefully planned to offer opportunities to think, construct, create and challenge them. There are many provocations or ‘invitations’ that supports the interaction and engagement of the children with each other and with their environment on their own terms and at times without adult mediation. Our provocations are areas that are carefully set up to invite the children to delve deeper upon existing knowledge of a project. A provocation can also be a teacher designed to inspire engaged exploration of a chosen topic.