Customized Learning Space
Pause for a moment and think about a favorite destination: Is it a quiet place in a garden, your favorite table at neighborhood coffee shop, or an aromatic, bubble-filled bathtub? Consider how you feel when you’re in your special place. Very young children have those special places too - cuddling with mom in the rocking chair, being pushed by dad on the swing, and playing a fort built from couch cushions. For young children, these special places highlight their experiences with their senses – sight, sound, touch, smell, taste, and their relationships with the caring adults in their lives.
The Shrinking Problem
For the last several decades early childhood classrooms have mirrored our misconceptions that young children are miniaturized elementary students. We’ve even marveled at small versions of elementary classroom tables accompanied by “cute-as-a-button” little chairs. We’ve been confident that we were giving children a literacy advantage by subconsciously exposing them to alphabet letters on the wall or making them happy with well-known cartoon characters heralded throughout a space—very often (ironically) hung at adult eye level. As we’ve admired these adorable spaces, we’ve almost always ignored the most imperative questions: How do babies experience their environments?