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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET | Why Classroom Design Matters | the blending of materials between learning center areas? Are the play materials sufficiently complex, allowing for appropriate levels of chal- lenge, yet not exceedingly complex, leading to frustration? As you consider the implications of pedagogy and space within your program, rein- forcing developmentally appropriate practices is a critically important factor. Promote a Variety of Learning Styles All children absorb environmental stimuli and make sense of new information through their senses. Your classroom should help children learn and grow by promoting the use of their senses—auditory, visual, and kinesthetic/manip- ulative. The number of materials throughout the classroom that utilize each learning style should be of equal abundance; the room arrangement should invite the children to partake in sensory activities without fear of noise or distraction. Aid in Behavior Management Space can be an invaluable pedagogical tool as you manage and guide children toward making appropriate behavioral choices. Strategically placed learning areas that allow for uninter- rupted play can drastically eliminate problem behaviors. A child who is actively engaged in playful activities, using her mind and body expressively and experientially, will have little need to make poor behavioral choices. In contrast, children who are bored and left with little to appropriately engage their minds or bodies will be much more likely to look for creative ways of entertaining themselves— typically in ways that are more rambunctious or rowdy. Likewise, large open areas of space that do not contain learning centers can often invite aimless running around and disengaged children. Boredom rarely leads to positive behav- ioral choices. Classroom space and materials can play an important role in maintaining positively engaged hands and minds. Be Aesthetically Pleasing A clean, pleasant, and aesthetically pleasing environment can greatly enhance the space that you inhabit every day. Each teacher, child, family member, and visitor deserves to spend his or her time in a space that is both pleasant and inspir- ing. Such an environment sends a message of respect and appreciation for all who inhabit the space. Furthermore, the more aesthetically pleasing the environment, the more we are subliminally encouraged to maintain the space at its current high level. Sustaining cleanliness and beauty by COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL | 5 |