Environments with Emma Waldegrave

Learning environments with Emma Carton ECE Bear Park

At Bear Park we believe in creating environments that not only nurture but also create imagination. Our environments are aquariums where the ideas, cultures, values and attitudes of the people within them are reflected.

Spaces are curated in such a way that they act as a third teacher, inviting, providing suggestion and provoking a sense of wonder and curiosity based on the interests of the tamariki or current investigation focus. Each space is intentional, given considered reflection, with purposeful decisions made around how it will support a specific learning intent as well as offer opportunities for further experimentation and discovery that is limited only by imagination. As Kaiako, we ask ourselves “what are we wanting the tamariki to do here?” We then consider ways the environment can be designed to speak to the children directly. Spaces may invite small groups, an individual, or pair of children, while others may welcome the whole class to meet together.

We value tamariki and their high competence for perceiving things through different senses and celebrate this by offering a variety of materials, mediums and resources that will nurture the quality and depth of their research and learning processes. If something is made available to their hands, it is available to their thoughts. Our environments appreciate that the ideas and theories of tamariki are very soft in nature and that they are able to change through experiences. They imagine the infinite possibilities of what tamariki can find and observe. The spaces welcome them, supporting their unique ways of knowing, imagining, being, interpreting, representing and expressing their ideas about the world.

Bear Park enviroments in the ECE classroom Emma Carton blog

Throughout our environments at Bear Park, tamariki have access to interconnected spaces that offer a range of open ended, found, natural and recycled materials, carefully selected for their potential. These types of resources invite tamarki to imagine ‘what could be?’ paving the way for limitless possibilities and ideas. When selecting resources, kaiako keep in mind soft qualities such as pattern, textures, colour, hue, malleability as well as other aesthetics and properties that may provoke wonder and intrigue and support our tamariki in their learning. Learning spaces are interconnected with one another, enabling tamariki to develop an understanding that ideas, strategies and approaches to thinking and learning can transferred.

High priority is also given to the aesthetic value of spaces and how provocations are set up in a way that draws tamariki into an encounter in a way that encourages a sense of imagination and creativity. Kaiako are acutely aware of the proposals communicated to the tamariki throughout the environment and this allows them to undertake intentional observations of learning, capturing the infinite interpretations, influenced by unique perspective and inspired by imagination.

Giving value to our children carries with it a commitment from Bear Park to continually reinvests in the replenishment and resourcing of our environments to ensure we offer the quality and richness our children deserve.

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