A note about learning environments

Jen Newton, ED instuctor for Washburn and Grad student at KU, posted this question to our online discussion boad. “Think about a store where you like to shop. What makes it a pleasant place to browse and buy? Now think about a store you dislike, perhaps a place where you feel frustrated and uncomfortable. What makes it difficult to shop in this store? Describe your favorite place and then list three ways to include features of your favorite place in the preschool environment.”

I’ve been off Wal-Mart for a little over a year now, and its been a great choice in my life.  No more endless isles, no overextending my budget on useful but unnecessary items.  When shopping for gifts/leisure I prefer small boutiques and antique stores, like Scandinavian Imports and Washburn Antique Mall.  These stores are not endless barrages of flourescent lights and tile, but are very comfortable, laid back, and organized.  I suppose my favorite place to shop is Mass. St. in Lawrence, where I can find a variety of items in a few blocks.  I think a classroom environment should be easily accessible, with few obstacles while cruising from one end to the other.  Items should be grouped with like items (math+science+blocks, reading+writing).  The area should have
access to natural light, and use flourescent light sparingly.  Items (toys) should be updated often to provide a novel experience for the consumers (children).  If your senses are attacked upon entering a store, something just doesn’t seem right, you probably won’t purchase anything.  Children feel that same internal chaos if their learning environment is not comfortable and accessible.  And then there’s the staff.  One of my last trips to Wal-Mart, and an experience that may have sealed the concious deal, was that at the checkout I had asked for paper instead of plastic, and the clerk rolled his eyes at me.  Children need someone in their environment who enjoys and appriciates their presence, regardless of their preferences in learning. 

They’re only human.


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