Learning Environment

Environment: The Third Teacher

Learning Environment: Summary

A learning environment encompasses multiple learning spaces–built and natural, outdoor and in, formal and informal.

Students actively participate in the design and co-construction of learning spaces including the learning opportunities that occur within those spaces.

Learning spaces are flexible, inviting, and engaging.

Learning spaces affect and reflect values and beliefs about learning by

    • Promoting learning processes in which children are engaging with another and with objects of interest, exploring in a focused manner, constructing and representing understandings.

    • Communicating the identities of the children and the image of the child.

    • Inviting children to take multiple perspectives and make multiple connections

    • Promoting a sense of well-being in everyone

    • supporting a constructivist and social-constructivist (Vygotsky 1978) approach to learning and teaching.

    • Being multifunctional, emphasizing personalization of learning, promoting independence and engagement.


Source: ibo.org | We Are All Explorers: Learning and Teaching with Reggio Principles in an Urban Setting. p. 84.

Co-designing Learning Spaces

Run Time: 11:22 - Dec 8, 2021
Kath Murdoch and Anne van Dam explore co-designing learning spaces with children. Co-creation and student agency are ways to give children ownership and direction in their learning and put them in the driving seat of their learning.

A collaborative Learning Space

Run Time: 3:26 - Apr 17, 2016

Just Because it Looks Nice Doesn’t Mean Learning Can Happen

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The author, Joshua Barr, states, "...that having an attractive environment is not the main objective or results in high quality play/learning. The truth is a kindergarten in play is a little messy, a little disorganized and a process based environment. Social media pictures and videos often stick to showing the before (children engage with the environment and materials) and leave out the during and after images."

Designing an Inviting Classroom - ASCD Video

Click/Tap on Image to view videoSource: ASCDThe physical space where students learn can greatly influence their sense of safety and, by extension, their confidence and engagement. In the video, Sarah Ortega, a 4th grade teacher at Harborside Elementary School in Chula Vista, California, leads a tour of her classroom. You’ll see how what’s up on the walls influences differentiation and learner agency.Also see article: Tending to Learning Environments

Telling the Story of Learning in Displays of Student Work

Run Time: 2:56- Mar 23, 2022
By sharing photographs, objectives, and samples in hallways and on bulletin boards, pre-K educators can shift from decorating to documenting learning—and both students and families benefit.

Samples of Early Childhood Classroom Environments