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Thinking Critically About Environments for Young Children

Bridging Theory and Practice

Lisa P. Kuh Sharon Ryan

216 pages
Teachers College Press
This comprehensive book will help early childhood practitioners consider the “why” and “how” of setting up classrooms and other learning spaces to create environments that are most conducive to child development. Using a practice-based focus and a researcher lens, the contributors consider the ways in which environments for children enhance or diminish educational experiences, how social constructs about what is good for children influence environmental design, and what practitioners can do in their own work when creating learning environments for young children. There are copious examples from practice, lessons learned, and illustrations and photographs of key aspects of the environments they discuss. Organized into three parts, this essential text addresses: Aesthetics, politics, and space configurations in school environments for young children. Outdoor spaces, beginning with intentionally designed playscapes, children’s gardens, and spontaneous improvisational play venues. The role of environments outside school, including informal learning environments that promote science knowledge, museum spaces, and virtual environments. A unique combination of the philosophical and practical aspects of formal and informal environments, this volume enables educators to create and articulate why carefully designed children’s spaces are critical to their learning and development.
Author Bio
Lisa P. Kuh is an assistant professor in the Family Studies Department at the University of New Hampshire, the consultant for Pedagogy and Inquiry at the UNH Child Study and Development Center, and coordinator of the undergraduate early childhood teacher preparation program. She is coprincipal investigator on the Natural Playground Project.