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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET as for specific functions. Beyond the limited notions of reading and writ- ing materials for the classroom, you can consider a wide range of other materials including magazines and newspapers, charts, diagrams, and reference and instruction books. Use technology thoughtfully as a supple- ment for children’s research and reference work. And remember, early childhood environments should include materials that support children growing up in a multicultural, multilingual world. Literacy involves unlocking a system of symbols and codes, and there are many ways you can expand children’s experiences with this process. The wider world of symbolic representation extends into the visual arts. Adding a range of materials to explore the arts will encourage children to understand and express themselves using art materials, music, dance, and theatrical expressions. Early childhood environments should be stocked with materials and opportunities for what Howard Gardner calls “multiple intelligences,” or what the educators of the Reggio approach refer to as the “hundred languages.” Enhance Children’s Use of the Environment Designing an environment with interesting materials sets the stage for investigation, complex play, and joy in learning. You also have to con- sider your role in the environment. If children haven’t before experienced open-ended exploration of nontraditional materials or been trusted to work with adult tools or fragile objects, they will benefit from some initial encouragement, coaching, and side-by-side modeling of playing with the materials. Once the social-emotional culture of your room is established as one where children are able to engage fully with each other and the materials, your role as a teacher can shift. You begin the careful dance of allowing the children to play on their own, being present but minimizing intervention and talking only when needed. As you make this transition to a new role, find ways to meet up with the children’s minds and engage them in inquiry by asking questions you are genuinely curious about. You look for when to offer additional materials and when to do behind-the- scenes cleanup so that the children can stay focused and continue to invest in their play. 28  [   Chapter 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL