Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Discussion Board 4: Appropriate Childhood Environments | Economics Write

The Assignment
 According to the text, a room that is developmentally appropriately designed will set the stage for learning and growing.
 Read the following article:  Infant and Toddler Spaces.docx Infant and Toddler Spaces.docx – Alternative Formats  
After reviewing the article, each of the following should be discussed:
Choose three of your favorite classroom qualities that should be a part of an early childhood design.
Discuss how each classroom design can promote and encourage children’s behavior in  positive ways. 
Discuss with your classmates both the positive and negative effects of classroom design.

I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born.
– Henry David Thorea

Infant and Toddler Spaces

“Adults admire their environment; they can remember it and think about it—but a child absorbs it. The things he sees are not just remembered; they form part of his soul. He incarnates in himself all in the world about him that his eyes see and his ears hear.”
Importance of the Environment

Brain Development

8 Considerations for Quality 11T Environments





Child-Size Space




Group Size/Ratios

Considerations for the Architect10
Infants: Guide to Room Planning12
Toddlers: Guide to Room Planning14
Importance of the Environment
“Absorbing a host of impressions through his senses is almost the exclusive task of the infant… Often the whole life of a person is not sufficient to efface the impressions absorbed in childhood, because his whole being, like a large eye, was open and wholly given to them. For this reason the care of an infant is so important.” — Friedrich Froebel, Educator,
founder of the Kindergarten
he first months and years of a child’s life are the most formative in development of mind, body, and spirit. Sleep, emotional and physical nourishment, and sensory stimulation are more important in infancy than at any other time. The most vital need for these youngest children is warm, nurturing care from the adults they depend on. We must also provide them with secure surroundings, and equipment and playthings that meet their needs and support their individual development.

Brain Development
“Babies are busy ‘wiring’ their brains. They are born with all the brain cells (neurons) they need, but they are not ‘intelligent’ as we understand that term. … they perceive but don’t think the way we do because they can’t retain images or symbols in their minds. Babies construct intelligence through experience, welding sparsely connected neurons into densely interconnected pathways.”

— Jim Greenman, Educator,
Sr. Vice President of Program Development,

The first three years of a child’s life are critical for brain development. After birth, brain cells establish trillions of connections. These connecting synapses form the brain’s “maps” that govern thought, feelings, and behavior. Brain cells analyze, coordinate, and transmit information. The brain learns and remembers throughout life by constantly changing these networks as it receives input from its environment.
Although parents pass on a variety of characteristics to their children through their genes, the environment plays a major role in devel-

oping a child’s personality by shaping the expression of those genes. External influences, from conception onward, offer the brain intel-

Bright Horizons Family Solutions
lectual, emotional, social, and physical experiences
for the trillions of connections between brain cells that make learning and memory possible.

Eight Considerations for Quality
Infant and Toddler Environments
— adapted from PITC’s Infant/Toddler Caregiving: A Guide to Setting Up Environments
ince surroundings have such a powerful influence on infants and toddlers, there are eight qualities to consider when setting up group care environments. These qualities can be divided into two groups. Four relate to the needs of infants and their caregivers: Safety, Health, Comfort, and Convenience. The second four support infant development: Child-Size Space, Flexibility, Movement, and Choice.

1. Safety
Safety is one of the most importan’ concerns in a group-care setting. In a safe environment, children move about freely and explore without the caregiver worrying about children getting hurt. She can spend her time in positive interaction with the children, rather than patrolling a “no” environment.
Safe environments have:
· developmentally appropriate equipment made of non-toxic materials such as wood.
· non-slip floors.
· stable shelves, objects and fixtures with rounded corners.
· steps toddlers can use to reach the changing table so that caregivers will not have to lift them.
“As soon as a baby starts crawling, you can count on the fact that he will discover every hidden danger in the environment. That means his caregivers need to discover those hidden dangers first and eliminate them.”
· Dr. Thelma Harms,
Director of Curriculum Development,
Research Professor, UNC-CH
School of Education
2. Health
Health is a fundamental issue when caring for infants and toddlers. Both children and adults must be protected from infection and illness, above all by a wellkept environment.
· Separate the diapering and toileting areas from food preparation and feeding areas.
· Keep these and all areas clean at all times.
· Have sufficient plumbing to allow children and caregivers to wash hands regularly.
· Make sure surfaces are easy to clean and suitable for the activities in the area—walls, floors, furniture, and toys.
Heat, light, ventilation and acoustics all have an impact on the development of children’s health. Since smell is one of the most important indicators of a healthy environment, clean floors and furnishings are of utmost importance. A child care center needs an efficient air exchange system, as well as screened, openable windows, if at all possible.
3. Comfort
A comfortable environment creates a calming atmosphere and allows both infants and caregivers to function without stress, which is injurious to brain development. Reducing clutter, giving attention to attractive display, and introducing nature in the room are some ways to bring about a harmonious and relaxing mood.
· Try soft and natural colors on walls and furnishings.
· Use natural light, lamps, and full-spectrum lights rather than fluorescent lights.
· Each room needs a steady flow of fresh air.
· Acoustical tiles and rugs with pads help to absorb noise.
· Soft cushions, pillows and back supports for adults sitting on the floor help make the environment comfortable.
4. Convenience
A convenient environment is one in which both the infants and adults can easily see, find, and access materials. Make sure the arrangement of equipment is clear and visible to all who use the space. Materials should be grouped together logically. Since infants and toddlers cannot read labels, they take cues from the way each area is organized, as well as its mood, to stimulate their interaction with the environment.
Feeding, Washing, and Toileting Areas
Feeding and toileting areas must be clean, bright and convenient. That means the environment must be easy to clean and easy to work in. The equipment should be scaled so that picking up, bending over, and reaching are kept to a minimum.
Storage and Shelves
Storage is the caregiver’s strong silent partner in a smoothly run childcare program. Adequate storage and proper placement of storage builds ease and efficiency into your environment.
Entrance and Parent
Communication Area
Entering and leaving the child care setting are important activities. A well-defined entrance gives children a clear sense of space, predictability and security. Both children and parents can experience separation anxiety, so an attractive and cheerful entrance can dispel their fears, inviting them to enter a special place designed just for them. When parents feel welcome in the classroom, they’ll have more confidence to visit, communicate, and make the transition that works for them.

Infants experience Three Stages of Development:
egardless of age, infants are earching for a sense of security, are drawn to exploration of their surroundings, and are carving out their own special identity. The caregiver-help that children require changes as they progress through the stages of infancy. It is important that the surrounding environment supports both the growing infants and the teachers who care for them.
· Young or Immobile Infants (0-8 months) thrive on the warmth and caring from a close relationship with caregivers. This security prompts young infants to explore and begin to shape their identity.
· Mobile Infants (6-18 months) are more focused on exploration. Curious, the mobile infant learns to propel herself to explore the environment when she feels secure.

Toddlers (16-36 months) are establishing their identity. Who am I, and who is in charge? Although a toddler is asserting his own control and independence, he still needs a strong sense of security in order to explore the world with more purpose.

5. Child-Size Space

When an environment is

encourage them to new levels of

designed to fit infants and tod-

play. Since the quality of your in-

dlers, they can reach what they

teractions has a direct bearing on

want, climb up what (to them)

children’s confidence and ability

are challenging distances, and

to learn, swings and walkers are

explore what interests them.

not recommended. They inhibit

Caregivers spend less time lifting

the infant’s natural need to move

children, putting them in chairs,

and explore, and prevent adults

getting toys for them, and pick-

from interacting in the ways

ing up things they drop.

that benefit children most. If the

Child-size space also takes into

space is child-scale and designed

account the role of the care-

for exploration, and if caregivers

giver. Intentional and responsive

are interactive, “babysitter equipment” will not be needed.

interaction with each child will
“Research shows that the more child-scaled the environmental space, the higher the quality and complexity of children’s play will be, and the longer they will be preoccupied in the play. In other words, a child-scaled environment increases children’s interest and concentration, and it delays boredom. In a large space, children are encouraged through reading the environment to move about from one thing to another, whereas in small contained areas, they are more focused.”
— Randy White, CEO, White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group, Inc.
Designing facilities for children ‘s development, learning and play

6. Flexibility
To create a flexible room:
· Use equipment that is easy to move—lightweight and mobile.
· Use adjustable equipment that will keep up with growing children.
· Store a variety of toys, materials, and equipment in a conven-
ient place.
· Combine some activity areas to maximize the use of your space: for example, the messy activities can take place in the mealtime area.
An Open Center
No matter what type of setting you have, plan to keep part of it open. Placing all the large equipment around the edge of the room allows you to keep the center open and to alter it as needed. An open center lets the children see what activities are available throughout the room. The children can also see the caregiver across the room, and the caregiver can see and respond to any child who needs attention. An open center creates maximum flexibility and lets children navigate easily between areas and explore their independence.
Working with Limited Space
When a small area must meet the varied needs of infants and toddlers, you have the challenge
of limited space. Strategies for designing a limited space include:
· A changeable environment.
· Lightweight, easy-to-move boundaries.

Multi-use, multi-purpose equipment.
· Optimal storage and creative use of space.
Tables that serve two or three purposes, such as feeding, art play, and messy activities, are examples of multi-purpose equipment.
On a Child’s Level

It’s such a big world. Your classroom may be the one place where a child can reach, sit, play and work without constantly asking an adult for access.
To create a child-size environment, use:
· tables and chairs that are small and low.
· 24″ shelves so children can see and reach toys.
· mirrors and pictures at child-height.
· easels at infants’ eye level, 10″14″ off the ground for toddlers.
· steps 4″-5″ high.

• some adult-size furniture, so caregivers can rock and cuddle children in comfort.
Activity Areas
Think of activity areas as separate places, like little islands. Then work to make them feel separate. You can do that by making sure each activity area has these three qualities:
1. A separate physical location.
2. Boundaries that separate it from other areas.
3. A mood, feeling or personality.
Each part of the environment has an impact on the children and adults who use the space, so consider the kind of effect you would like each area to have, and how it reflects your program’s goals.

“Toddlers will move whether moving is safe or not. They constantly try out new movement skills and explore their independence. A welldesigned environment encourages safe exploration but gives toddlers the feeling of risk, of expanding their limits.”
— Infant/Toddler Caregivihg: A Guide to Setting Up Environments,

7. Movement
Infants and toddlers need an environment that encourages movement. The first three years are what Piaget calls the sensorimotor period, where infants and toddlers learn through sensory exploration. They develop physical and cognitive skills, and learn about people and objects by becoming fully involved with their surroundings.


Encourage infants and toddlers to move freely and explore with: open pathways for crawling; low steps to climb; surfaces with a variety of textures, tunnels, slides, mattresses, rocking boats, play pits, balance beams, hammocks, risers, lofts and easy access to outdoors.
Multiple Levels
Set up your environment so that crawlers and walkers can both see and get to many levels. Use slopes, stairs, or small ladders. Create a shallow play-pit. Different levels provide variety, diverse viewpoints and numerous chances for movement. By creating various levels, you also expand the space. For example, you can place a big chair or playhouse on the floor level, then use a loft over the same floor space for a climbing apparatus with a platform to play on.
Researchers have found that fixed equipment such as climbers and slides, rather than toys and planned activities, stimulate cooperative peer play.


by Ron Lally & Jay Stewart

Know your group size/ratios
he regulations for group size and caregiver-to-child ratios vary from state to state. Be sure to check your state’s requirements.

Total Minimum # Square
Age Ratio Size Feet Per Group*

Caregivers need to be able to

months 6 350

observe and respond to cues in

6—18 months 9 500

the children’s behavior in order to arrange and rearrange the

16-36 months 12 600


The Program for Infant/Toddler

Rest and Sleeping Areas

Care recommended Group Size

Infants and toddlers in child care

for Mixed-Age Groups are:

should be able to rest or sleep

Total Minimum # Square

when they are tired. An infant

Age Ratio Size Feet Per Group*

who wakes up often during the night may need more sleep the

0—36 months 1:4** 8 600

following day. A toddler just get-

*The space guidelines represent

ting over the flu may need two

minimum standards of adequate

The Program for Infant/Toddler Care recommended Group Sizes for Same-Age Groups are:

8. Choice

An environment that allows infants and toddlers to make choices supports their development because it is predictable and provides children opportunities to discover what they find interesting or challenging. Set up different areas of the room with a variety of activities, textures, and equipment. There should be spaces for large group activities as well as small, private spaces, active and quiet play areas and room for messy activities. Your

space can support your program, providing stimulation and a balance between challenge and comfort, so children can “push their limits” and expand them. naps instead of the usual one. Thesquare footage per group; the environment should have places amounts shown do not include where children can relax and a space for entrance areas, hallways, place where they can take a nap diapering, or napping areas. with their own bedding whenever **Of the four infants assigned to a they are sleepy.

“Babies and toddlers usually play most happily with a few toys that are changed frequently. When a toy that has been put away for a short time reappears, it again captures the child’s attention because it seems new and exciting.”
— Dr. Thelma Harms,
Director of Curriculum Development,
Research Professor, CINC-CH School of Education
caregiver, only two should be under twenty-four months of age.
For more information, visit:
Search for:
Recommendations for Group Size

Considerations for the Architect

1. Involve teachers, parents and children in the design process, and allow enough time for the design process.
2. Licensing standards do not always support the developmental needs of children. For instance, while 35 square feet per child may be your state’s minimum space requirement, it is not enough for children’s optimal use of indoor environments. Quality programs make decisions based on what nurtures the child and his development.
3. Long-term flexibility is of utmost importance. For this reason mobile storage is preferable to built-in storage.
4. Follow the children’s ADA standards rather than using the adult ADA standards in children’s areas.
5. Doors: keep to a minimum, as they take space and generate traffic.
6. Windows: Natural light is excellent, and children love to look out; but too much glass creates a harsh environment, takes valuable space, and can make the environment feel exposed.
7. Floor surfaces: consider material, color, ease of cleaning, sound absorption, and visual effect.
8. Ceiling surfaces: acoustic tiles absorb sound, whereas hard surfaces reflect sound. Pay attention to the acoustics. A loud environment hinders development and increases stress. A quiet environment encourages calm behavior and focused play.

Play is an expression of our creativity, and creativity is at the very root of our ability to learn, to cope, and to become whatever we may be.
— Fred Rogers of
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood As seen on PBS, and

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messy zone •carpd
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1. Make a Room Plan:
· Draw the room (to scale) on graph paper.


A Quick Guide to Room Planning

· Add: windows, doors, sinks, floor surfacing.

IMmt Roan 8 Chkfren

2. Mark in the flow paths:
4. Divide into Wet & Dry Regions.
· Wet Region: Identify using the “BF” rule: flow, flooring and fixed plumbing.
· Dry Region: Should contain at least one protected corner, and can be carpeted.
5. Divide into Zones:
· In Wet Region: Entry Zone, Messy Zone
· In Dry Region: Active Zone (should include a protected corner), Quiet Zone (must include a protected corner).
6. Plan Activity Areas in the appropriate zone.
Here are some suggestions:


I Active


Staff Storage
Sign-ln &
Transition space — (adult
“farewell chair” or Glider)

Water Play
(older infants)
(older infants)

Gross Motor. ramp, shallow steps, foam shapes, balls, mirrors, tunnel, pull-to-stand bars

Nap Area
Nursing Corner
Cozy space: for quiet play
(separate from Nap Area) soft toys, cozy surfaces, infant/ caregiver “cuddle corners”

· Draw the most direct routes between the entry and all other doors, water sources and storage closets.
3. Circle the Protected Corners:
· Reserve prime space for quiet or traffic-free activities.
· Protected corners should be as distant as possible from doors and flow-paths.


7. Create a space for each area:
• This space includes storage for items used in that area.


Make a Room Plan:
· Draw the room (to scale) on graph paper.

Toddlers: A Quick Guide to Room Planning

Add: windows, doors, sinks, floor surfacing.
2. Mark in the flow paths:
· Draw the most direct routes between the entry and all other doors, water sources and storage closets.
3. Circle the Protected Corners:
· Reserve prime space for quiet or traffic-free activities.
· Protected corners should be as distant as possible from doors and flow-paths.
4. Divide into Wet & Dry Regions.
· Wet Region: Identify using the “3F” rule: flow, flooring and fixed plumbing.
· Dry Region: Should contain at least one protected corner, and can be carpeted.
5. Divide into Zones:
· In Wet Region: Entry Zone, Messy Zone
· In Dry Region: Active Zone, Quiet Zone (use protected corners).
6. Plan Activity Areas in the appropriate zone.
Here are some suggestions:





Children’s Feeding Gross Motor: Cozy Corner:
Storage ramp, slide, shal- books, Glider low steps, foam for caregiver, shapes balls cushions and low mirrors tunnel, soft seating, pull-to-stand furry friends bars, push-wagons, rocking toys, riding toys

Staff Storage Diapering/ Dramatic Play: Manipulatives:
Toileting simple costumes, toys & games, housekeeping small wooden furniture blocks

Parent Sand & Music &
Sign-In & Water Play Movement: Communication open space, simple rhythm instruments, CD player

Transition Art: floor Nap Space: space — (adult easels or usually cots or
“farewell chair” tables mats are placed or Glider) around the room


7. Create a space for each area:
· This space includes storage for items used in that area.

The layout should communicate activities and boundaries..

Cryer, Debby & Harms, Thelma & Riley, Cathy.
All About the ITERS-R. Kaplan PACT House Publishing 2004
Greenman, Jim. Caring Spaces, Learning Places:
Children’s Environments That Work, Exchange
Press, Inc. 2005
Greenman, Jim & Stonehouse, Anne & Schweikert, Gigi. Prime Times, RedleafPress 2008
Koralek, Derry G. & Dombro, Amy Laura & Dodge, Diane Trister. Caringfor Infants Toddlers, Teaching Strategies, Inc. 2005
Lally, J. Ronald & Stewart, Jay. Infant/Toddler
Caregiving: A Guide to Setting up Environments,
California Department of Education 1990
Lally, J. Ronald & Butterfield, G.O. & Mangione Peter. L. & Signer, Sheila. Space to Grow: Creating A Child Care Environmentfor Infants and Toddlers, (video, 2nd ed.) CA Dept. of Education
& WestEd, 2004
We thank WestEd’s Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC) for their research contribution.
They have developed the most widely used training system for infant and toddler caregivers in the United States, and their team is at the forefront of national efforts to improve infant/ toddler care. We depended on the PITC staff for much of the information in this booklet, and much more is available on their website:
We thank the children and staff of the Children’s Learning Center in Kingston NY, especially Michele Conklin, for their time, patience and charm as the cameras flashed. The children were great models because they simply showed up and played !
Mangione, Peter L. & Lally, J. Ronald & Signer,
Sheila. The Ages ofInfancy: Caringfor Young, Mobile and Older Infants, California Department of Education 1990
Mangione, Peter L. & Lally, J. Ronald & Signer, Sheila. Meeting the Intimacy Needs ofInfants and
Toddlers in Groups, Far West Laboratory 1992 National Research Council Institute of Medicine (2000) From Neurons to Neighborhoods, The Science ofEarly Childhood Development, Committee on Integrating the Science of Early Childhood Development. Jack P. Shonkoff & Debörah A. Phillips, eds.
Olds, Anita Rui. Child Care Design Guide,
McGraw-Hill 2000
Schor, E.L. Early Brain Development and Child Care, in Health in Child Care: A Manual for Health Professionals (4th Edition), American
Academy of Pediatrics, 2005
We thank these quality early childhood vendors for some of the props in our photo images:
The Book Vine for Children classic children’s books
Folkmanis Puppets quality hand puppets
Learning Materials Workshop colored arches and towers

sourcebook for establishing, organizing, and maintaining a quality program. This edition includes topics such as developmental issues; infants and toddlers with special needs; staffing and staff training; creating learning and nurturing environments; establishing routines; discipline; health, nutrition,

and safety policies; curriculum; partnering with parents; assessment; and program evaluation.
By: Jim Greenman, Anne Stonehouse, Gigi Schweikert.

Caring for Infants and Toddlers in Groups is designed to help caregivers, program directors, coordinators, administrators, trainers, licensers, families, and leaders in the field of early care and education recognize the special knowledge and skills needed to offer a nurturing group care environment to very young children.
By: J. Ronald Lally, Abbey Griffin, Emily Fenichel,
Marilyn Segal, Eleanor Szanton, Bernice Weissbourd.

Prime TimesCaring for
Achieve quality care andInfants & education in your infantToddlers or toddler program with
in Groups this practical guide—a

mcommunity playthings

Redleaf Press, 2008.Zero to Three Press, 2004.


Community SpacesCollage,
Playthings Room Layout for Earlyour quarterly e-mail
Childhood Educationnewsletter, provides catalogvaluable articles on
The companion volume
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For a free catalog, call 800-777-4244, or call 800-777-4244, or visit Collage can be a valuable staff devisit www.CommunityPlaythings.GQm velopment tool for your program. We include the theory behind each topic, practical applications and lots of links to resources you won’t want to miss. Best of all, it’s free. Working on a Start-up or Renovation?
Visit wW/.CommunityPlaythings.cqm

Give us a call about our free room planning service. Our to subscribe. planners can work with you to design developmentally appropriate classrooms that match your curriculum.
For other free resources: 1-800-777-4244

Discussion Board Rubric

Participation is measured by posting an initial post/thread in a timely fashion, allowing other students time to respond.
You should make a minimum of 2 postings in total:
One new/initial thread and at least two thoughtful responses to
Your participation will be graded as follows:

A Discussion

(90-100 points)
A-level postings:

B Discussion

(80-89 points)
B-level postings:

C Discussion

(70-79 points)
C-level postings:

D Discussion

(60-69 points)
D-level postings:

F Discussion

(0-59 points)

Initial post is made in a timely fashion, giving others the opportunity to respond.
***Initial post is due by Sunday

(20 points)

Initial post made, but not always in a timely fashion to allow others time to respond.

Initial post is not made in a timely fashion to allow others time to respond.

Initial post is not made in a timely fashion and/or post not made at all.

Initial post is not made.


The quality of initial post is not relevant to the course/ prompt given.

Significant spelling and grammar errors included.

Initial post makes connections to the course content and/or other experiences. Post is a minimum of 7 sentences.

(30 points)

Initial post makes connections to the course content and/or other experiences, but connections are unclear, not firmly established or are not obvious. Required length is not met

Initial post is generally accurate, considers the content of the
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Initial post is unclear or contains incomplete connections between course content/prompt. Post does not meet the length requirements.

At least two responses are made to classmates.

(20 points)

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Peer responses are not present.

Responses extend discussions or poses new information not previously voiced. Responses are a minimum of 5 sentences.
(20 points)

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Response is given but does not enhance the subject matter. Minimum length requirement is not met.

Peer responses are not present.

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Includes a minimum number of grammar and spelling errors

Some grammar and spelling errors included.

Significant spelling and grammar errors included.

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