As a teacher, creating a predictable and active learning environment is crucial to fostering children's growth and development. A well-designed classroom with diverse, open-ended materials that reflect children's homes, cultures, and language can help create an engaging and inclusive environment.
Organizing the classroom and labeling materials can promote independence and encourage children to carry out their intentions. With a clear understanding of where materials are located and how to access them, children can freely explore and engage with the materials that interest them most.
A consistent framework for the day provides a balanced variety of experiences and learning opportunities. Children should have options to engage in individual and social play, participate in small- and large-group activities, assist with cleanup, socialize during meals, develop self-care skills, and exercise their small and large muscles. By providing a range of experiences, children can explore their interests and develop new skills in a supportive and nurturing environment.
The most crucial segment of the daily routine is the plan-do-review sequence. During this time, children decide what to do, carry out their ideas, and reflect upon their activities with adults and other children. These higher-level thinking skills are linked to the development of executive functions needed to succeed in school and life.
By encouraging children to plan, do, and review their activities, teachers can help children develop self-regulation, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. These skills will be essential for success in school and life beyond the classroom.
In addition to promoting executive functions, a predictable and active learning environment can also help foster a sense of belonging and community. By reflecting on children's homes, culture, and language, the classroom can become a space where children feel seen, heard, and valued. This can lead to increased engagement, motivation, and ownership over their learning.
Creating a predictable and active learning environment requires planning and preparation. Teachers must carefully select materials and design activities that promote exploration, independence, and growth. Teachers can help children develop the skills they need to succeed in school and life by fostering a sense of community and providing opportunities for reflection and decision-making.