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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET The guiding principle is to ensure that there are many ways for children and adults to use the space and materials. Your selections and arrangements should encourage children to pursue their interests and questions, represent what’s on their minds, and build strong relationships and a love of learning. Modular furniture that can be turned and stacked in multiple ways will give you more flexibility than when everything is designed for a single use. Offering open-ended materials in a variety of areas will spark children’s imaginations and speak to their desire to con- tinually rearrange and combine materials for exploration and inventions. Design Natural Environments That Engage Our Senses Do you remember delighting in the smells, sounds, and textures of the world around you when you were young? It is well known that children investigate the world and learn through their senses, and things such as playdough, paint, manipulatives, sensory tables, and music devices are standard fare in most programs for young children. But many more sensory-related features can be included in program environments, rang- ing from engaging textures to captivating aromas. Consider herbs, flowers, leaves, naturally scented candles or soap, shells, rocks, feathers, branches, and pieces of bark and wood. Filling your environment with aspects of the natural world can further soothe the senses and sensibilities of those present. When you contrast something as simple as a shelf of plastic baskets with a shelf containing nat- ural fiber baskets, the different sensory experience is immediately apparent. To surround children with elements of the natural world, this program has brought the outside inside and given the children a large window with a view of an inviting outdoors where careful attention to landscaping and gardening are part of the playscapes. In the sensory table, attention is given to inviting exploration with a variety of woven and wooden materials typically found in Asian cultures. There are textures and aromas to discover as the children pursue some of their typical play themes of filling and dumping, poking, and making imprints and designs. Children First, Durham, NC L ay a Foundation for Liv ing and L ear ning   COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL ]   25