Quality Area 3 – Physical Environment… A lot of people think they have very little control over the physical environment. It is already built and designed and there isn’t a lot that can happen. Well there are several ways you can influence the physical environment and reflect on how it is used in your service. Here are 5 tips to reflect on to help you meet quality area 3…
Consider the standard of your equipment –Would you like to play with toys that have had better days? Would like to have pieces missing from your equipment or not enough pieces to make anything good? Would you like to have equipment that is dirty, drawn on, has paint and play dough dregs stuck to it? How would that make you feel? Would you feel valued, important, and respected? Would you treat the other equipment that was left with care and respect if there was examples everywhere showing you that you didn’t need too?
Consider how the space is used –How do you use the space in your service? Do you consider the layout? Are noisy areas like block corner right next to quiet areas like book corner? Is play dough on the carpet so children will make a mess? Is there clear walkways or are children building with blocks through fire exits and walkways, creating trip hazards? Are there quiet spaces for children to retreat to if they feel overwhelmed or anxious? Are the spaces for big movements and risk taking and noise?
Do children have consistency? – If you think about your home, how often do you move things around? Do you go to work and come home and the kitchen is now where the bathroom used to be and your bedroom is now a study? How would you feel if this happened? Confused? Unsure? Possibly violated? Imagine how children feel when they come to the service and things are moved around.
Do children have choice? – Are the opportunities for children to select materials of their choosing? Are there opportunities for children to select whether they would like to be inside or outside? Are there “inside” activities outside for those children who do not feel confident in gross motor play and outside games? Do children know what is available and can they ask for additional resources or to have a different activity brought out?
Consider embedding sustainability –This is more than just having a vegetable patch. This is about caring for the environment. Recycling or upcycling materials for loose parts play/craft, not wasting paper with 1 line drawn on it, use the back of the paper too, not allowing children to pull leaves/flowers/bark off trees and plants and explaining to them why.
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