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Space speaks: A portrait of an early childhood centre and the affordances provided by the learning environment

Katrina McChesney and Jeanette Clarkin-Phillips

The quality of early childhood education and care fundamentally depends on teachers’ wise practice. However, the environments in which that education and care occur can influence, inform, and shape teachers’ practice, and children’s and families’ experiences. This article draws on a written “portrait” of the learning environment created at one New Zealand early childhood education (ECE) centre, capturing both physical and non-physical aspects of the environment and highlighting the affordances the environment offered to children and families/whānau. A Reggio Emilia lens is used to inform analysis of the learning environment and the associated affordances. The portrait (McChesney, 2020) and this article may support practitioners by providing a vision of what can be in terms of early childhood learning environments, and by providing a possible framework for self-review and inquiry.

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