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2 minutes reading time (382 words)

Refreshing the Learning Environment

Getting ready to welcome back all our tamariki back after having a big holiday. We are creating new and exciting areas to stimulate their learning and create exciting new learning experiences. Having a different area for reading is a positive way to promote quiet time with a book to relax and have calm time, while also promoting literacy. Reading to our tamariki helps to improve cognitive skills and helps along the process of cognitive development. When we read out loud to our tamariki, it provides them with background knowledge on their young world, which helps them make sense of what they see, hear, and read. As a team we discussed proving areas that would simulate the home environment. Rugs, baskets and cushions have allowed the children somewhere 'home like' to read, rest and also self regulate when they need some time to themselves. The children have come back and we can see such a positive change in their play in this particular quiet area. Using the environment as the third teacher has provided the children with an opportunity to engage with their peers in a space that is comfortable, well resourced, open and calm.  We loved turning our play areas into welcoming and happy spaces for them to explore and use their imagination in many ways. Environments that are stimulating for babies and young tamariki are filled with safe objects to explore, allow freedom of movement, and provide a variety of experiences. Creating a  varying  range of floor surfaces for practicing crawling and walking (e.g., mats, carpets, smooth floor surfaces, carpet squares on tile floors) challenges the children's physical abilities and provides them with an environment that develops their confidence in a safe place to take risks.  We have designed safe spaces for crawling in or climbing over, using sofa cushions, carpet area for safe play. Providing a safe space where a baby or child can take a time out from the excitement of group activity. Early childhood centres can be quite a hectic place for everyone and it is important to ensure we are intentional when setting up the environment.