Thursday, 2 October 2014

The psychology of early years learning


Our physical environments can have a major impact on our ability to learn, and this is especially true for young children. In their early years, kids constantly interact with their surroundings by touch, taste, smell and hearing. Because of this, well designed learning environments can play a significant role in encouraging children’s physical and mental development, promoting their powers of creative expression, boosting  their confidence and fostering social skills such as cooperation and trust.

Therefore, when you’re creating classrooms for youngsters, it’s important to pay keen attention to every last detail. This brief guide to the psychology of early years learning could help you achieve your goals.

Zones

All good early years classrooms contain different zones where children can engage in various activities. For example, areas may be set aside for creative tasks, reading and play. Research suggests that classrooms with well-defined activity spaces encourage youngsters to becoming more involved in constructive pursuits.

For the best results, it’s helpful to build a degree of flexibility into your classroom design so that you can change activity areas as and when you need to.

Stimulation

On a related point, these environments should be complex in terms of their design and contents. While it’s important not to overwhelm kids with too much detail, the most effective early years classrooms feature a range of materials, floor coverings, activities, shapes and colours.

The furniture you buy can help add to this level of variation. After all, it’s now easy to purchase chairs, tables, storage items and other products in a wide range designs and styles. For example, you can invest in soft seating to contrast with your existing chairs. Kids’ tub chairs complete with a padded foam finish make an excellent addition to classrooms and these novel items come in a selection of different colours.

Lighting

Lighting can have a profound impact on the overall look and feel of learning areas too. These rooms should feature a good level of illumination and, if possible, they should benefit from plenty of natural light. It helps to have at least some windows at child height.

Also, it is important to be able to control lighting levels to provide the right conditions for specific activities, such as watching videos.

Displays

Youngsters take pride in showing off their work and so your classroom displays should include examples of pupils’ projects. This can help to bolster kids’ self-esteem and it can also increase feelings of belonging and community. Try to change your displays on a regular basis so that children don’t become bored of them and make sure you make full use of colour and texture.

Safety

Of course, classrooms must be safe too. This means you’ll need to take great care to ensure that youngsters are not exposed to dangerous materials and substances. Any accidents that occur within learning environments can dramatically reduce children’s confidence. In the worst cases, such incidents can also cause pain and suffering.

Well worth the effort

Creating the perfect classroom for young children does require some time, effort and investment, but it should prove to be well worth your while. By tapping into the psychology of early years learning when you’re designing classrooms, you can help to improve the experiences of your pupils. In addition, you can make life easier for your teachers. After all, it is much simpler to communicate effectively with youngsters and to guide their learning in high-quality environments.


If you’re keen to enhance your classrooms by adding impressive new items of furniture, you can check out the selection of products offered by firms such as Furniture At Work™. It provides a variety of desks, chairs, stools, drawers, shelves, activity tables and more that could be just what your organisation is looking for. 

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