The Environment - The Third Teacher
There are five partners in the journey of learning; teachers, peers, the environment, families and the community. On any given day, during the exploration of a topic or experience, four of them, teachers, peers, families and communities work at different levels of involvement. The environment however, is prevalent at all times.
It is the master; the living space that will inspire the children to navigate through their thinking, doing and being. It offers open ended materials, spaces to work collaboratively, loose parts, aesthetically engaging invitations and supports the voices of the children and teachers.
It is called a living space because it is in a constant state of change. It must respond to the needs of the group and adapt itself to their preferences. For example some school years, there may be a higher need for space for blocks, a larger area for loose parts, an expanded area for clay, more outdoor possibilities.