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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET children joyfully thrive. There are common themes in most of these memories: endless hours outdoors, fantasy play and inventions, raiding the refrigerator and cupboards when hungry, taking risks, and taking care of younger children. Sadly, too many early care and education programs don’t think of themselves as responsible for creating children’s favorite memo- ries. In fact, many children today are denied some of the most pleasurable memories of childhood because of thoughtlessness or rigid interpretations of standards and regulations. Our field must go beyond the idea of equat- ing quality to mean being compliant with regulations. We must recognize that the environments we create are shaping children’s memories and their identities about who they are in the world and what they deserve. The assessment tool at the beginning of this chapter uses common elements from countless stories of favorite childhood memories we solic- ited during trainings we have lead. From those stories we also identified elements that can be translated into principles to consider when planning your space: • Think beyond a traditional classroom. • Create connections, a sense of place and belonging. • Keep space flexible and materials open-ended. • Design natural environments that engage our senses. • Provoke wonder, curiosity, and intellectual challenge. • Engage children in symbolic representations, literacy, and the visual arts. • Enhance children’s use of the environment. • Launch the process of transforming an environment. • Face barriers and negotiate quality standards. • Seek children’s ideas about environments. Each of the above considerations holds opportunities for educators to rethink the design of early childhood environments. Imagine how things might be different if you used the idea of creating a strong identity for children to design your early childhood program. When your environ- ment engages children fully, you expand how you plan for physical, emo- tional, and cognitive learning. If the environment is designed to be another teacher in the program, then your work as a teacher is not only easier, but it engages more of your own creativity and learning. Embraced as a whole, this list of considerations expands understandings of how environments can be a powerful force in providing an enriched childhood that shapes children’s identities as eager learners and citizens. L ay a Foundation for Liv ing and L ear ning   COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL ]   21