St Patrick’s ELC’s journey to developing a quality environment as part of providing 1140hr provision.
As a staff team, we were passionate about creating an environment that cultivates children’s curiosity, creativity and wonder. We worked very hard to develop a shared vision for our new 1140 environment, recognising the impact our environment has on our children as ‘the 3rd educator’.
This involved looking inwards: self-evaluating our environment and the barriers we faced e.g. comfort, light, space, barriers to free flow play to our outdoor environment; using Building the Ambition to support our self-evaluation.
Next, looking outwards: Falkirk Opens its Doors to Play was an immeasurable support – getting into other quality environments and taking inspiration from good practice within our authority. Following these visits, our team consulted on aspects of good practice which would fit our vision. In addition we took time to research examples of quality environments and resources shared on on-line platforms which proved to be a great support to us. We found inspiration from pages that share their environments and resources, such as ‘The Curiosity Approach’, and as a team, we shared and discussed ideas, challenging each other in a supportive manner.
Then looking forwards: by getting involved in all aspects of planning for our environment. We worked very closely with our Architect at the planning stage, making changes such as; the position of our kitchen, adding extra windows, changing the boundaries of our garden etc. As a team (including our children, parents and staff) we made all decisions re. décor and furnishings of our environment.
Staff embraced the opportunity to make real environmental change and a shift in the resources we provided to support learning. Staff created a wish list in keeping with our research and carefully selected interesting items and resources to purchase with our budget.
Staff worked extremely hard to get all our resources in place and create a warm, welcoming, homely environment for our children and opened our doors in August on the first day of term to our children as an Early Learning Centre delivering 1140 hours of provision. At that point, our environment continued to be an on-going daily priority. It was a focus of our daily dialogue; discussing how our children were using their environment, changes that were required and improvements we could make.