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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET you can create a sense of softness in your selection of color, furnishings, lighting, and materials. You can add specific features that represent the interests, families, and cultures of the children and staff. Indoors and out- doors, you can create places for people to comfortably gather, get to know each other, and find avenues for further connections. Guide your selection and placement of equipment and materials to ensure opportunities for people to collaborate and demonstrate what they know. Keep Space Flexible and Materials Open-Ended While it’s true that children need consistency and predictability, they also need program spaces designed with flexible options so that things can be moved and rearranged for specific purposes. Too often, once a room ar- rangement has been put into place, it rarely changes. Children are discour- aged from taking things from one area to another or playing with material in unexpected ways. Being discouraged not only limits children’s creativity, but it also limits the ever-deepening complexity they can benefit from in their play. Children come to early childhood programs with active bodies and imaginations. They are quick to use objects to represent things they are thinking about. Some spaces and materials will suggest dramatic themes that children are inherently eager to act out. Environments should provide opportunities for children to feel the power of their bodies and ideas. Creating multilevel spaces inside, as well as on the playground, gives children a number of ways to explore spatial relationships with their bod- ies. You may envision a loft as a place for quiet reading, but when children are higher than adults, they often want to exhibit how powerful they feel. Rather than subdue their bodies, we need to find ways to help children use them as a regular part of their learning. Here a collection of wood scraps, dowels, logs, driftwood, and old tile samples have been added to a block area with more traditional early childhood blocks. The children use these for building elaborate structures and creating games, and they take them to other parts of the room to become props for their play. courtesy of Janis Keyser, Mountain View, CA 24 [ Chapter 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL