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Observational information helps you evaluate all you do in your school-age programs: your activities, schedules, routines, transitions, rules, and conse- quences. When you incorporate both spontaneous and scheduled observa- tions into your program, they will open your eyes to the effectiveness of your environment. The next several chapters address the three environmental dimensions in greater detail. As you delve into each of these realms, you will continue to use observations as your guiding light: • Observations are based on what you see and hear within the program environment. • Program environment includes the physical, temporal, and interper- sonal and is based on planning. • Planning is based on reflection and careful thought. • Reflection is based on observations. As you explore the ideas and strategies presented in this book, you will learn practical information about how to incorporate the key components for an ideal environment into your program. You will also learn how to use infor- mation gained through observations to create an environment that supports each child’s overall development. Throughout your exploration and planning, keep asking yourself, If I could design an ideal environment for children, what would I include? How can I create a place where children love to be, love to learn, and do not want to leave? How can I create a place where staff like to work, want to stay, and want to come back to every day? This book will help you answer these questions. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL The Many Faces of School-Age Care • 17