Creating the optimal 21st century learning environment

A developmentally appropriate and engaging environment is one that:

Is safe and predictable

Children thrive when they feel safe and know what to expect. Transitions should be smooth, easy, and stress-free.

Nurtures children

Create a welcoming environment where children are encouraged and responded to, to support a strong self-image and positive interactions with others.

Focuses on the learner

Display their work! Children’s work and projects should be posted around the environment to inspire creativity and innovation.

Provides a variety of materials

Provide access to a variety of developmentally appropriate materials in the space where they can use them independently.

Offers varying types of activities

Include a mix of activities based on children’s interests in a variety of experiences such as whole group, small group, playing in pairs, or independent instruction to support problem-solving, collaboration, and communication.

Offers diversity

Select materials and activities that reflect all cultures and families within the community to support children in becoming global citizens. They should also reflect all types of learners and children with disabilities.

Integrates technology

Build an environment where children learn to use technology that is age/ developmentally-appropriate, monitored, and contains educational and positive content to enhance creativity and information gathering.

Allows for free movement

Allow for children to move throughout a space and support them as they investigate their environment.