How to Create the Learning Environment at Foundational Stage
- An inclusive, welcoming, colourful, and joyful environment that supports every child’s participation is very critical for achieving the Competencies outlined in the NCF.
- a. The indoor environment needs to be well lit and well ventilated.
- b. It should feel safe and inviting for the children.
- c. It needs to be inclusive.
- d. It should have a balance of both familiar and novel experiences for the child.
- e. It should have a balance of materials that encourage different domains of development.
- f. It should allow for both individual work and cooperative work.
- g. It should include displays of children’s work and also allow for children’s work-in-progress to be preserved.
Outdoor Equipment and Materials
- Sand pit
- a. Sand pit: If adequate space is available, a sand pit would be an excellent play area for children. For environments where such space is a premium, a sand box can be setup with the use of bricks and filled with sand or mud. The sand pit/box should be periodically cleaned to remove stones and other sharp objects. During free play, children can use the sand area.
- Clay box
- b. Clay box: A small box built with bricks and containing claying soil would allow children to mix and knead clay and make clay figures and toys. This is a very good exercise of both their gross motor and fine motor abilities.
- c. Water: Very young children find playing with water calming. Pouring water without spilling helps coordination of multiple muscles and increases attention. Water is useful for measurement too. A simple arrangement of buckets, mugs and a tub for water activities should be kept along with the sand and clay areas.
- Kitchen Garden
- d. Kitchen garden: A small kitchen garden adjoining the indoor environment with a variety of plants (e.g., flowers, climbers, roots, vegetables, leafy vegetables) gives children sensorial experiences, opportunities to work with their hands and concepts about the natural environment. Group work, physical labour and other such positive attitudes towards work can also be achieved by children working in a kitchen garden.
- Outdoor play equipment
- e. Outdoor play equipment: Slides, see-saws and swings are some essential outdoor play equipment. If the slides have a ladder to climb, that gives opportunities for very young children to climb, which is an important developmental activity, especially if they don’t have access to small trees to climb. Otherwise, short ladders can be placed in the outdoor area for them to climb. In later years, simple rope ladders can be set up for a more demanding climbing experience. Simple swings can be fabricated by using used tyres.
Reference and Excerpt
National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage-2022