Our learning environments are set up to promote children’s thoughts, discussions, questions, ideas, interest, and creativity. Provocations are learning experiences whereby children can practice, test, construct, and deconstruct their ideas and theories.
Kaiako put time and thought into setting up experiences that invite children to explore and express themselves. Experiences are open-ended with no prescribed outcome but are designed to stimulate ideas, imagination, creativity, and thinking. This sense of openness is created through the use of loose parts, recycled, and natural materials. The vast array of natural resources that nature provides have been described as a “blank canvas of open-ended opportunities to think, create, and investigate” (Reggio Children , as cited in Deviney Duncan, Harris, Rode, Rosenberry, 2013, p.55). Similarly found loose and recycled materials allow children to “enter a world of ‘what if’ that promotes the type of thinking that leads to problem solving and theoretical reasoning” (Daly & Beloglovsky 2015, p.x).
A space where the environment is truly recognised as the ‘third teacher’ “conveys the message that this place is a place where adults have thought about the quality and the instructive power of space. The layout of the physical space is welcoming and fosters encounters, communication, and relationships. The arrangement of structures, objects, and activities encourages choices, problem solving, and discoveries in the process of learning. There is attention to detail everywhere – in the colour of the walls, the shape of the furniture, and the arrangement of simple objects on shelves and tables” – Lella Gandini.
When considering and setting up a new provocation or space one must remember the potential power of a provocation. We must question and reflect upon the intent and the potential interpretations. We must remember that “spaces do more that speak – they load our bodies and minds with sensory information” (Greenman, 2005, p.13).