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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 9 = There is a cozy place here where I can get away from the group and be by myself. 10 = I see my name written, or I get to regularly write my name here. 11 = I get to know my teachers here—what they like, how they spend their time away from school, and which people and things are spe- cial to them. Now examine your coded floor plan. Did you have trouble finding any of these components in your room? If so, you will probably find new ways to think about transforming your environment in this book. Environments Reflect Values and Shape Identity People spend human- , environments in the of United kind States or another. most Some of of their these time are in carefully de- made one signed, while others appear to have been haphazardly put together. Spaces are typically created with some kind of purpose or intention, whether or not this is evident. Every environment implies a set of values or beliefs about the people who use a space and the activities that take place there. For example, having individual desks rather than grouping children at tables suggests that the teacher believes children learn best in isolation from one another and values individual work over group activities. Thoughtfully planned or not, each environment also influences the people who use it in subtle or dramatic ways. People also have different preferences for the environment they feel most comfortable in at any given time. Depending on individual dispositions, experiences, cultural lenses, or needs of the moment, people may prefer to be alone or in the company of others, quiet or actively engaged, in bright or filtered light, or in an urban or wilderness setting. An environment may temporarily overstimulate or bore, calm or agitate those in it. Spending an extended period of one’s life in an environment deemed unpleasant will eventually exact a toll. Because of this, a number of professional fields focus on designing spaces, from architecture to landscaping to lighting and interior design, marketing, and human psychology. Children in the United States spend thousands of hours in early childhood programs. The early childhood profession now has assessment tools to define quality program environments. But most US programs have not drawn wisdom from those outside our profession who special- ize in designing spaces. Our early childhood program spaces aren’t typi- cally put together with conscious, sustained attention to the values they L ay a Foundation for Liv ing and L ear ning COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL ] 19