The Classroom Environment

We place enormous value on the role of the environment as a motivating and animating force in creating spaces for relations, options, and emotional and cognitive situations that produce a sense of well-being and security.

Loris Malaguzzi, Reggio Emilia Italy

The classroom environment is considered to be the child’s third teacher.  We carefully designed our classroom space to be a warm and inviting place for both children and adults. We have a beautiful room with large windows and natural light.  The children are invited to draw, sketch and paint in a very natural setting.  There are many plants and “homey” touches in the space to support a close home-school connection.  We placed mirrors in many places around the classroom so the children can look at themselves and experiment with reflection.  The materials are displayed in baskets around the room which invites the children to come and play with them.  There is a cozy round carpet in the middle of the space to gather in a large group and there are several smaller areas where children can play and meet in smaller more intimate groupings.  As the children begin to create art, their beautiful work will be documented and displayed throughout the classroom and the school.
The Welcome Table

This area of the classroom is near the front door. Parents can find information about their children and the school on the table. The picture frame is for family photos and the children are responsible for keeping their communication bags in the wicker basket.

Light Table

The children are invited to investigate with light and reflection using interesting materials.

Listening Center

The children are invited to a quiet area with a friend to listen to stories while reading along in the book.


In the atelier, the children are invited to use a variety of colourful and textured materials. There is a display of new and recycled materials to evoke creativity from the children. Specific skills are taught on how to use different materials such as paint and clay. Famous artists will be introduced to provoke new ways of thinking about new materials. Children are encouraged to be free and use their imagination in this area of the classroom.


The children are invited to read books alone or with a buddy. The WigWam is a place for children to read or participate in dramatic play.

Discovery Center

The children are invited to participate in scientific discovery. They are encouraged to bring natural materials from the outdoors to the nature table. There are scales and magnifying glasses for the children to take a closer look at some natural materials.

Math Center

The children are invited to play with a variety of materials that will provoke thinking of several mathematical concepts. They will explore counting, two and three dimensional shapes as well as problem solving.


The children are invited to sit with a friend and work on puzzles.


The children are invited to the easel to draw, sketch and paint anything they are inspired by in the classroom or outdoors.

Dramatic Play

Children love dramatic play. In this area of the classroom the children are invited to play in small groups. They are encouraged to use their imagination. Materials such as scarves are presented here to provoke open ended thinking about dress up.


The building center is a place of collaboration. The children will explore the properties of materials, create story lines about their structures and devise building strategies. Materials both organic and geometric will be presented at this center.


The children are invited to the world of literacy. They are exposed to letters and interesting and new materials to write with. They are excited to write familiar words, their names and their friends’ names. Each child has their own mailbox to send and receive letters. Materials such as paper, markers, envelopes, etc., are presented at this center for open ended thinking.

Educator Resources

Educator Book Shelf – Easy access to books when the children demonstrate particular interests – AND, it looks nice too!


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18 Responses to The Classroom Environment

  1. Dr. Jeffrey Wood says:

    Wow! What a beautiful and inviting space for children learn and be in.
    I love the clear and careful consideration you have put into creating this space.
    I love the use of light, natural materials and colours, and plants in each of the spaces.
    It makes me want to be there, something I am sure the children and their parents feel as well.

  2. Such a wonderful environment and so well scaled to their little bodies. It feels simultaneously open and cozy – quite a feat!

  3. Lindsey R says:

    Congratulations to the Educators for creating such a beautiful, inviting and creative classroom. And congratulations to the school board for making this possible. As a parent I am incredibly impressed and pleased. My daughter goes to school happy and comes home happy, with stories and drawings of her day. I look forward to what this school year brings.

  4. This is a really remarkable and well thought out space! I am thoroughly impressed! I adore the carpets that you have used and all of the natural materials.

    You’ve re-inspired me to consider using more wood and large plants!

    Just stunning…

    I’m honestly speechless…

    Well done!!!

    • Tara Thall says:

      Thank you so much Joanne! We have worked really hard on our space. We are beginning year 3 of ELK and have been learning so much from our friends down south. Thank you for sharing your amazing work!

  5. Jil says:

    Hey It’s good to have friends up north too…. I’m a RECE woking for a local daycare in the Sudbury area and just stumbled on your blog through a comment left on another blog. I share an ELK classroom for my afterschool program in a SCDSB school. I also have a daughter who just started on her ELK adventure. Looks like you are doing wonderful things in your environment and providing a wealth of opportunities for the children in your class. It would be lovely to touch base with you and get to know a little more about your program. I’d love to come visit your classroom! Keep up the good work! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. Sarah says:

    your classroom is so beautiful, thank you for sharing!

  7. Rachel OBrien says:

    Where did you get those clear communication boxes from?

  8. Barbara Glickman says:

    I love, love, love this classroom. We have been trying to use this approach in many of our classrooms at our center. Do you have a picture of the room as a whole? Thank you!

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