4 Chapter 1
Ten Messages a Quality Environment Conveys
For us adults, living each day sometimes takes everything we have. We
would all like to get away to a place where everyone knows us and we can
relax in the comfort of being supported and loved. The same is true for
children. The feeling of togetherness found in FCC programs is one that
no other group care setting can duplicate. You can instill those warm, secure
feelings for the children in your care by creating a quality environment that
encourages learning while being a place that feels like home. A quality learn-
ing environment should send these important messages to children:
1 This is a good place to be. You belong here.
2 You can trust all the big people in this place.
3 You can be independent and do many exciting things that help you
4 You can get away and be by yourself or be with your friends whenever
you want to.
5 There is a place where you can be away from younger children or be
alone with just your brother or sister.
6 This is a safe place to explore and try out your ideas.
7 Everything here is for you and you can use whatever you like.
8 You know where things are and they’re always in the same place.
9 This is a happy place that helps you learn new things.
10 Somebody knows you and knows what you like to do.
We hear a lot about environments in family child care, but have you ever
stopped to ask exactly what the term environment means? You may be sur-
prised by the answer. Experts in early childhood education write that the
environment is everything the child touches, uses, and experiences every day
(Isbell and Exelby 2001; Curtis and Carter 2003; Greenman 2005). Without
a doubt, a home setting is the most familiar and long-remembered learning
environment a child will have.
If we all stop to think about our early learning years, we will remember
the rich and perhaps even the painful learning we experienced at home.
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