The learning environment is itself a teacher. It communicates to children and adults many possibilities and invites multiple responses. The spaces, light, colors, attractive and appropriate materials and visual images surrounding children support learning. Reggio-inspired educators carefully select, arrange, organize and plan a learning environment that is rich, inviting, beautiful, unhurried and stimulating. Time and schedule are also components of the environment. Deliberate choices are made to slow down, to support uninterrupted play, exploration and interaction among children, building connections between experiences. An environment supportive of learning allows children to make choices, use a wide variety of materials, move around, work both alone and with others, engage all the senses, have new experiences and reflect on experiences.
A Reggio-inspired environment also reflects the people who interact within it, making visible their identities, their work and their ideas. Who lives here? What are their interests, their cultures, their families, their values? Children who see their images, their words and their work displayed in the learning environment know for certain that they are valued as people and as learners.
“Education must come to be recognized as the product of a set of complex interactions, many of which can be realized only when the environment is a fully participating element in education.”