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Photo 1.14 This wall mural is a visual reminder of the program’s goal of character devel- opment for children. Pro- grams that change goals periodically can use less permanent displays, such as quilts, posters, or bul- letin boards, to be equally effective and reflective of their program goals. Setting Goals for Your Environment No matter where your program is located, how big or small your space is, or how many children attend, the ultimate goal for all school-age care programs is to support children’s learning. Remember that learning is a broad term that includes how we react either consciously or unconsciously to what is going on around us. It is a process, not a product. Learning happens over a period of time by building on what we already know with new information to develop additional behaviors, skills, attitudes, and preferences. In other words, learn- ing is more than memorizing facts or spelling words; it is making sense of these facts and words to understand the world around us and our role in it. Setting the stage for learning success begins with the children. What you place in the environment depends on the children. For instance, if you have children in primary grades (grades K–3), having on hand early reader books, larger balls, and a variety of art supplies and providing additional staff supervision create an environment that supports children’s learning. Children in intermediate grades (grades 4–6) and above benefit from activities with higher-level problem solving, challenging games, and staff who encourage children to think for themselves. There is no one design that fits all. Each environment should be as unique as the children and adults in the program while also being designed to develop children’s love of learning, which ideally will last their lifetime. 14 • Chapter 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL