Everyone at The Early Learning Centre is aware of how the mood and atmosphere of our environment affect the peace and productivity of those in its embrace. An environment is so much more than a place; it is a milieu, and message. The greeting spaces at The Early Learning Centre communicate an open invitation to parents to linger, talk, or read documentary panels of the children's work. The meeting spaces communicate the value of professional development with their quietude deliberately designed for reflection on the progress of our projects. The classroom spaces communicate the value of small group endeavours, and the social co-construction of knowledge among children and adults. The ateliers communicate the value of the expressive languages that the children can use to explore their thoughts and theories within the various disciplines. An environment embodies the values of the people who created the forms, colors and furnishings of the space. When one enters a constructed environment, one receives an immediate feeling about the people housed there. At The Early Learning Centre, the deep richness of teak, the gentle curve of a wall, the subtle pinks and blues, the play of light on the Bo Tree, all communicate to the visitor that this is a place to slow down, to speak softly to a friend, and to find some greater purpose in what may appear to be an ordinary moment. As the spaces are interrelated, so too are the people. At The Early Learning Centre, the spaces flow one into the other, subtly suggesting that all of the diverse activities going on within them are similarly integrated in content and goal. It soon becomes clear to both adults and children that the environment has become an implicit teacher, always here, always supportive, always whispering, “I value and support your best work”. And those fortunate enough to be in this space and hear its message begin to adopt these values within themselves.
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