Designing the Early Learning Environment

It takes careful planning to design early learning environments where children thrive. The main factors in designing quality learning environments are physical, interpersonal, and temporal arrangements.


There should be a clear structure and design of the physical space, including the equipment and materials available for the children. For instance, rooms must be set up in such a way that it is accessible, traffic flow is efficient, and materials can be found with plenty of choices for the children. The block area must be carpeted to minimize noise from falling materials, while the art and sensory areas must be close to the washroom or sink for easy clean-up.


Beyond the physical details, educators need to consider messages in the environment, children’s sense of self and their development, the principles of supportive early learning environments, and the effects of an inclusive environment. It is significant to note that relationships are a foundation for learning.


It is also important to create schedules that allow for routines, transitions, and time for learning. This establishes clear limits and expectations that support children’s holistic development.

All three components are interrelated in providing a supportive climate for children.

Children learn best in spaces where they can use materials, spread out, move around in, talk freely about what they are doing, and work alone and with others. The environment we are in affects our mood, and our abilities to learn, grow, develop, and form relationships. It also has a crucial impact on the way our brains develop.

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