14 Chapter 1
children are encouraged to wander and to wonder. An exciting homestyle
environment is one of the most important, if not the most important, ele-
ments that supports children’s learning.
Chapter 2 presents specific elements that will help you create an envi-
ronment that allows children to experience both learning and fun at the
same time. Walls and halls, color and lighting, and patterns and textures are
all discussed, as each is an important element in children’s lives.
Activities and Questions
Go into your child care space physically (if your environment is already set
up) or mentally (if you are designing the environment). What does it feel
like to be a child in this place? To answer this you may need to get down on
your hands and knees, or on your stomach, or sit in a low chair. Use these
questions to guide you as you look at the characteristics of your environ-
ment as a child would:
1 Is the environment welcoming? Do children come through the door
eagerly? What elements can you add to the environment to put out the
welcome mat for children and families?
2 Have you promoted or reduced the natural hominess of your child care
setting? What can you add or remove to promote a homestyle learning
3 Where are the soft or cozy elements to support quiet and relaxing play?
4 Does this environment make learning fun? Are children eager to use the
materials to support their learning?
5 Are all elements in the environment purposeful or are they just cute or
6 Is this an exciting but safe place where all accessible materials tell the
child “touch me, use me, and learn from me”? What items need to be
added or removed?
7 Think about who shares the child care space. Is your business crowding
out your family? How can you keep the balance between a home-based
business and a family-centered home?
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