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5.3: Connecting Theories to Environments

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    Environments should be planned with developmental theories in mind:

    • Jean Piaget and the Cognitive Theory: Environments should encourage active learning, stimulate skills of inquiry and promote problem-solving/risk-taking. Examples: Materials are placed low on shelves that make easy access for children. The shelves should be labeled with pictures of the materials so that children are encouraged to place these materials where they belong by matching the material to the photo when they finish playing with them. The environment must be stimulating for children to encourage knowledge seeking.
    • Vygotsky and the Sociocultural Theory: Environments should provide opportunities for meaningful interactions that challenge children (zpd) and in which scaffolding exists through child-child and child-adult interactions.
    • Behavioral Theory: Daily routines must be consistent and expectations of behavior should be clearly defined.
    • Erikson: Environments provide opportunities for children to develop feelings of trustworthiness, autonomy and initiative in the early years. The environment provides areas for children to feel safe, play independently, and make choices throughout the day.[1]


    [1] Content by Kristin Beeve is licensed under CC BY 4.0

    This page titled 5.3: Connecting Theories to Environments is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Jennifer Paris, Kristin Beeve, & Clint Springer.