Features basic quality common to all the softness indicators

Features of a quality-learning environment

The ten Dimensions in designing a quality environment
for children

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 Comfort- Children have full use of
their bodies and senses as they use the environment. You can make rooms
pleasant and attractive by introducing visual, auditory, olfactory and textural
elements. Add well-chosen inexpensive items such as posters, green plants,
photographs and children’s artwork to induce home like feel in the environment
for children.  


Softness- when we start thinking about
softness we look at a lot of things that seemed to make a difference to
children’s experience in the environment. The basic quality common to all
the softness indicators is sensory responsiveness.  When children touch
water, or a swing, or a pillow, it responds to touch; it moves.  It
doesn’t just resist like a hard floor or chair. Children can use their body the
way they want to on a rug, push sand around or pound on clay, and each does
what the child wants it to do.                     Introducing softness into an environment may
also be a way of reducing tension in both children and adults. 


Mobility – inspiring rooms are organized in a way that encourages children to move,
explore, and experiment. Children need scope for movement. In fact, it’s actually critical for
their intellectual development. Limited opportunities for movement have been
linked to behavioral and learning problems. Educarers can direct movement so
that it is safe and doesn’t disrupt other activities and mix or connect
different activities. An ordered environment free of clutter with good
visibility provides educarers the ability to supervise the
children while interacting with a single child.

Safety – Children love to explore and
discover, but they also rely on?educarers to help keep them safe. Entries and
exits need to be clearly defined, and pathways direct. Activity areas need to
be low and must contain sturdy furnitures. Doorways should be obvious. Traffic
flow should be natural. Settings of such nature keep children both safe and
occupied and at the same time help staff to be more attentive to the needs of
individual child.


Mood – Rooms should have a balance of well-defined spaces for a variety of
activities, suggesting a mood that reflects the task in each play spaces .For
example, the reading area should be quiet and soft; the art area, colorful and
creative; and the dramatic play area, imaginative and fun. Children take cues
from the environment to regulate their behavior. Mood can also be regulated
through associations and qualities of the objects in the environment.
Furnitures made of wood, natural materials such as twigs; leaves have a calming
effect in the environment. 


Flexible – Infants and toddlers develop at
an astoundingly fast rate. A flexible and competent environment meeting
children’s developmental needs cannot remain static, it must create maximum flexibility to allow children to navigate
easily between areas and explore their independence.
 Flexibility in environment must be continually adapted to meet children’s changing needs.  


Privacy and social space – Young children need spaces to
claim as their own within their larger environments. Some spaces serve social
and play functions, such a block play area while others may offer a sense of
privacy. A cozy corner for example, offers privacy and can allow
one or two children to enjoy some quiet time of their own.


Order- There is need
for children to know what to expect, and understand what is expected of them.
With the assurance that their environment is predictable and familiar, they can
function as part of a group. The order around them creates a sense of order
inside them.

Autonomy – A child’s growing independence is demonstrated through
the manipulation of physical objects and spaces, providing a child with a sense
of individuality.

Security –  Children need to feel connected and welcomed, and this is vital to their
developing sense of self and their trust in themselves and others in an

– Adults in the environment are also users of space, requiring spaces that fit
their function in the environment. For example, storage space and adult chairs
for rest and comfort. 


4. Specific
areas that are of
important considerations when designing a setting for infants/toddlers:
§ Rest
and napping areas-Furnitures such as sleeping
cots and sleeping mats should be safe and clean for young infants and toddlers.
§ Toileting and washing up areas -organized and safe sanitary
station makes diapering a relaxed and comfortable experience for both child and
§ Feeding
and food preparation areas- Equipment used in the
food-preparation area has to be in good working condition, including the
sanitizing of milk bottles and utensils.

§ Play areas- The layout
determines how much exploratory play children are exposed to. It should provide
various opportunities to challenge children on what they see, touch and feel as
well as safely allow them to explore their environment independently.
§ Storage
areas – The materials children need in
each activity area should be stored   conveniently
at hand, and displayed attractively for effective use. They should comfortably hold and display contents that are safe for
children use. The arrangement in the storage area has to be clear and
understandable for all users