We all know that the type of environment you work in can have a positive or negative, or even neutral, impact on an individual. You wouldn’t expect an employee to be inspired in a dark, cramped workspace so why should we expect a child to fly in the wrong environment.
The environment within a setting is hugely important and cannot be underestimated.
When children feel safe and secure within their daily environment they are happy to then explore and find out about their surroundings and investigate further the things they can see, touch, manoeuvre or manipulate.
EYFS environments are categorised into three different spaces.
- Emotional Environment
- Outdoor Environment
- Indoor Environment
The emotional environment boils down to the way the space feels. It’s ‘ambience and atmosphere’ Both things are incredibly important to get right and it has to work for the children, the staff and the parents. If the parents feel they are leaving their children in a safe, happy, enabling environment this is very important. If staff feel happy they are better placed to deliver care and, most importantly, if the child feel happy, safe and secure they are in a place to express their feelings and emotions and communicate any concerns or feelings knowing they will be heard and responded to.
You can create an emotional environment in many ways.
- Using eye contact, smiles and friendly language when children arrive to spend time there puts them at ease.
- Understanding the varying needs of some children and knowing that some may need additional support will put both the child AND the parent at ease.
- Have a clear behaviour policy. Children like boundaries and rules to understand what is acceptable.
- Ensure the child has a file with all their details that THEY have filled in so that any staff crossover or cover has access and can quickly get to know the child. If you know that child likes a comforter when they’re upset you are quickly and easily able to calm and settle them.
Children love to be outdoors and they learn differently again in this space. It gives them space to move with less restrictions than indoor play, it stimulates different senses and is really good for the children. Ideally children should be able to go outdoors in all weathers so having a covered space is helpful.
In the outdoors, children’s use of language is FIVE TIMES greater than indoors!
Ensure they have spaces to play safely, that they can be active, investigate, explore and take calculated risks.
The indoor environment is so important as it is where children tend to spend more of their day. Spaces need to feel bright, airy and stimulating without being overwhelming to children. You might want to use displays to promote the childrens work and give them the feeling of pride to see their pieces on show. It will need careful planning as as childrens interests and needs WILL change and the space should adapt and reflect that. Let the children dictate what they enjoy and use the space to accommodate those ideas and needs. Keep the space moveable, bright and safe with high quality resources which reflect the room and the age group within.
We run many EYFS courses including our EYFS The Environment course which is just £25 and we’ve had some wonderful feedback. For more info take a look here or call us 02476 714873