What comes to mind when we first think of the environment is the space that directly surrounds us, but there is so much more to environment. The environment is a living and changing system that is not only a physical space, but also a place that acknowledges time and roles within our social realities.
Our environment conditions the way we think, feel and behave and dramatically affects how we perceive and connect with our wider worlds. The space around us reflects the culture of the people who create it.
At Bear Park, our centres are carefully designed as social and active spaces where shared exchange is viewed as essential in learning. Through shared activity, communication, and cooperation, our children co-construct their worlds via a sharing of knowledge. One child’s idea develops another’s or represents a new path to be explored.
Bear Park centres create environments that focus on the child’s wellbeing and favour relationships and interactions between their wider community of teachers, staff and parents.
Inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach, we see the environment as “the third teacher” that acts in the role of an educator. Bear Park environments undergo frequent modifications by both the children and teachers to remain up-to-date and responsive to the learning needs of the growing child.
So from this perspective, when we, at Bear Park, think about environment as a social space that plays the role of the third educator, we consider environment to be:
A place that invites you in to stay awhile and play.
A place where you feel welcomed and feel a sense of belonging.
A place to encounter others and make friends.
A place where you feel valued for being who you are.
A place where your cultural identity is visible and valued.
A place that intrigues and excites you to engage with it.
A place that offers you a multitude of textured landscapes.
A place that infuses the natural world with the recycled.
A place that has purpose.
A place where respect is shown.
A place where small group discoveries can be made.
A place where technologies abound.
A place of multiple languages.