Powerful learning environment

Capitalizing on a myriad of experiences by professionals, a body of observations, research and expertise has been gathered and systematized in inventories of initiatives that favor the well-being and involvement of children. These serve as inspiration to create an powerful environment unfolding the unique potential of each individual.

The Ten Action Points for Early Childhood and (0-6 years), The Five Factors for Early Childhood (0-6 years) and out of school care (3-12 years), the Seven Factors and the Seven basic teaching methods for primary education (6 – 12 years) provide the active components of a powerful learning environment. This is an environment in which children and adults can thrive and high levels of well-being and involvement can be achieved. Through these Factors and Action Points one discovers the strengths in the environment and  the elements which can be improved to optimize the approach.

The Ten Action Points are:

  1. Rearrange the room in appealing corners or areas.
  2. Check the content of the areas and make them more challenging.
  3. Introduce new and unconventional materials and activities.
  4. Identify children’s interests and offer activities that meet these.
  5. Support activities by stimulating inputs.
  6. Widen the possibilities for free initiative and support them with sound agreements.
  7. Improve the quality of the relations amongst children and between children and teacher(s) or practitioner.
  8. Introduce activities that help children to explore the world of behavior, feelings and values.
  9. Identify children with emotional problems and work out sustaining interventions.
  10. Identify children with developmental needs and work out interventions that engender involvement.

The Ten action points (AP) and the Adult Style can be summarized in the following Five Factors:

  1. The Offer: How ‘rich’ is the environment in which the children find themselves? (AP 1 – 4)
  2. The Group Climate: In what degree do children feel at home in the setting and in the group? (AP 7 – 8)
  3. Room for initiative: How much freedom do the children have? (AP 6)
  4. Organization: Is the day organized efficiently and taking into account the needs of all children? (AP 6)
  5. Guidance (Adult) Style: How much empathy is there while interacting with the children? (AP 5)

Seven basic teaching methods are the building blocks of an educational model in which the initiative of children and teachers is absorbed, the so-called “open framework” model. These methods support professionals to connect with how children feel and what fascinates them. The seven formats are:

  1. Circle
  2. Forum
  3. Contract work
  4. Corner work
  5. Project work
  6. Workshops
  7. Free Activity

The seven Factors for primary education are

  1. Group climate and relationships
  2. Adaptation to the developmental level
  3. Closeness to reality
  4. Activity
  5. Expression
  6. Cooperative learning
  7. Learners’ initiative