Learning Environment

In some early childhood approaches, the environment is considered to be "the third teacher" (Reggio Emilia). Unfortunately, in many P-3 classrooms, the physical space, psychological climate, and instructional setting are often shortchanged.

P-3 Framework Goal:  The physical space and emotional environment (campuses, buildings, schools, and classrooms) promote collaborative relationships, actively engage all children in a variety of learning experiences and settings, and support the health and wellness of children and adults.

The following resources highlight and support the importance of learning environments in comprehensive P-3 approaches:

Overview of Issues

Publication Date: Jan 2009
Sharon Ritchie, Gisele Crawford, Richard Clifford

This brief from FirstSchool proposes that an optimal indoor and outdoor environment for children should be designed to support the development and maintenence of positive relationships and partnerships throughout the school community; maximize children's learning opportunities; and promote and maintain health and wellness for all members of the school community.

Policy Briefs

Publication Date: May 2016
Abbie Lieberman, Shayna Cook

Research suggests that play, particularly up through 3rd grade, has become less prevalant in classrooms. Authors Abbie Lieberman and Shayna Cook argue that with greater knowledge of child development and appropriate practices, principals would be more likely to understand that scaffolded play can and does lead to learning. In this brief, they conclude that principals who know best practices in early education would be better able to support developmentally appropriate teaching.