Monday, April 6, 2009

Making the Connection: Environment, Design, and Children

The very first workshop of the IAEYC 2009 conference for me was about the classroom environment. It was presented by Rob Fields, an architect, and members of the Indianapolis Reggio Collective (I am very sorry but I wasn't able to catch their names). This presentation was a condensation of a half-day workshop, so we covered a lot of ground fast.

First Rob did an overview of architectural principles that go into designing a space for children. For example, young children prefer primary colors, teenagers prefer fluorescent colors, and adults prefer muted colors. He recommended the following process for designing a room:

  1. Pick a neutral background, either warm (browns) or cool (grays).
  2. Then select a color palette based on your age group. These will be accent colors used in relatively small amounts to the background color.
  3. Select lighting that's as close to natural as you can get.

There was some more discussion about architectural things and then we got to the part I really enjoyed, viewing photos of classrooms. Unfortunately, there wasn't much time left for that, so the pictures flew by. The major thing I noted was the use of natural and neutral-colored containers, like baskets, rather than the primary colored plastic bins that seem fairly ubiquitous in early childhood classrooms. Another thing I liked was the use of glass containers so the children could see what's inside for things like paint and other art supplies. I had several presenters over the two days mention that they use glass with children, so apparently this is not unheard of and it can be a good learning tool.

This would not be the only presentation I went to that covered classroom spaces, but it was a good way to start, with foundational material.


  1. Patti
    Fantastic info on your blog! I teach 2s &3s as well so this has been a wonderful place to stumble upon.Keep it coming.Louise:)

  2. Louise, thanks for stopping by! I'm glad you're finding useful things here. Do you have a URL of your own you want to share? We all have great information, and I find I'm always a better teacher when I see what other teachers are doing. It helps to keep me motivated even if I don't do the same activities.