In creating a safe and engaging learning space for children to learn and grow, one must first plan divided areas for various interests of the children called centers. Those centers should reflect age appropriate materials that encourage exploration, constructing, and real life play. Materials should stimulate the senses, should be open ended, rich in experiences and diversity that promote optimal learning. One should use low shelves for storage of materials for safety, and for easy supervision of the children. Low shelves help children achieve self autonomy. Also creating an open traffic flow around center will help prevent accidents and injuries. Safety is always the priority in the space. The space should be attractive and have a home like feeling that reflects various cultures and diversity. Be sure to create a space for parents, emergency plans, important phone numbers and resource information to share with parents. One should have a balance of quiet and active centers, wet and dry centers, cooperative and solitary play centers and a schedule with a balance of inside and outside play.
Outside space, the playground should have a variety of well maintained equipment, safe structures to climb on, swings and should have some type of mulch or fine gravel in the fall area. It should have a balance of shade and sunny areas, soft and hard surfaces, and grassy and concreted areas and also an area for solitary play.
To maintain a safe, healthy, learning,... [continues]
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