"We value space because of it's power to organise, promote pleasant relationships between people of different ages, create a handsome environment, provide changes, promote choices and activity, and its potential for sparking all kinds of social, affective and cognitive learning. All of this contributes to a sense of well-being and security in children. We also think that the space has to be a sort of aquarium that mirrors the ideas, values, attitudes, and cultures of the people who live within it."
- Loris Malaguzzi
An environment that is arranged and taken care of with intention becomes a powerful place for learning; it becomes the 'third teacher'. At Ekidna, the learning environment and the way it is used to structure the children's day is reflective of the values and philosophy of it's educators and families. Inside, spaces are thoughtfully constructed and arranged using a wide variety of materials and resources to support the children's learning. Time and space is organised to give children across all age groups meaningful learning opportunities, including social encounters, individual experiences and intentional learning through group times. More information about our educational programs can be found here.
Just as the indoor environment is valued for it's potential, the outdoor environment is seen as a place of learning and is part of the children's every day experience. The children are encouraged to explore the Ekidna garden in all kinds of weather, where appropriate. In cooler weather children are taught to be mindful of keeping their bodies warm and dry - donning jackets, jumpers, beanies, shoes, gumboots and raincoats before setting off into the outdoor spaces. During warmer days the children are encouraged to be mindful of how to adjust their activity to keep their bodies cooler - wearing clothing to protect them from the sun (shirts, hats, sunscreen, for example), drinking plenty of water and staying in shaded spaces. The warmer weather also offers opportunities to explore the possibilities of water and sand play as well, and on occasion the children even enjoy wearing their swimmers to enjoy these experiences.
"An environment is a living, changing system. More than the physical space, it includes the way time is structured and the roles we are expected to play. It conditions how we feel, think, and behave and dramatically affects the quality of our lives... The consideration of the children's own needs and rhythms shapes the arrangement of space and the physical environment."
- Edwards, Gandini & Forman, 2012, p. 332-333