As Reggio-inspired educators, we recognize the influence the environment has on learning. Within the Reggio philosophy, the environment is considered the Third Teacher, it’s impact is so profound. As we create our spaces for children, the challenge is often in the translation of theory into practice, and the deliberation over choosing and then arranging furnishings and materials to create an environment conducive to discovery, learning and building relationships.
“The environment is recognised for its potential to inspire children. An environment filled with natural light, order and beauty. Open spaces free from clutter, where every material is considered for its purpose, every corner is ever-evolving to encourage children to delve deeper and deeper into their interests. The space encourages collaboration, communication and exploration. The space respects children as capable by providing them with authentic materials & tools. The space is cared for by the children and the adults.” ~ from An Everyday Story, a favourite Reggio-inspired blog
This week, Richland Faculty have been immersed in their spaces and have been busy consulting with each other on design aspects that honour the Reggio philosophy. This process transpires annually as Faculty create spaces for their next class, but this has been made all the more exciting this year because at Richland we are opening our 20,000 square foot expansion that includes 12 new classrooms. Richland’s new school design offers larger, open and interconnected spaces for learning, full of light and other natural elements. Interior window walls and doors will extend the illumination. The hallways will be galleries to share the children’s work — the tangible products of their projects as well as their stories and reflections on their research. Inspired by the Reggio Emilia Philosophy, the design offers open, light-filled spaces connected to the ‘Piazza’, our community gathering area.
Here are some images from Natural Pod, a Canadian company that has produced much of the furnishings for Richland’s new space.We look forward to revealing Richland’s newly designed learning spaces over the coming weeks. In the meantime, if you are an educator and looking for a starting place to create an inspiring classroom, we recommend the following link from playfullearning.net as an introduction.
Such a wonderful process to prepare spaces for learning ~ now all that remains is welcoming students for the beginning of the new school year.