Creating an enabling environment for kids must be the top priority for parents, schools, and caretakers. To create an enabling environment, it is vital to know what that entails and its role in child development. To assist in the growth of your kids, the team at Arihant Play has put together a guide on how environments are an important factor of play and how parents can create an enabling environment that encourages kids to safely explore the world around them.
Let us begin by first understanding the meaning of enabling environments.
What Is An Enabling Environment?
An enabling environment can be defined as an age-specific, child-centric space that contains various types of stimulating media that can help kids get comfortable, confident, and feel safe to explore. These areas can encourage kids to challenge themselves, get active and improve their problem-solving skills.
It is important to ensure these environments are inclusive and embrace kids of all cultures, disabilities, languages, and ethnicities. It is also vital to monitor every kid’s development and how space caters to their individual needs. This can help parents and schools uncover opportunities that could be implemented to make the environment even more engaging.
We have broken down successful enabling environments into three major factors. Note that each environment plays an equal importance in the child’s development. They are as follows:
1) The Emotional Environment
This refers mainly to the atmosphere of your space or setting. Young kids are very conscious and aware of how other kids and adults react to one another, including their speech, tone, and behavior.
To create a successful emotional environment, whether it be at home or outside, each kid needs to first feel safe and secure within the space. They must also have the support of a key individual with whom they connect or bond.
When there is a sense of security and safety within the child, they likely try new things, learn from their mistakes and be open to learning.
2) The Indoor Environment
The indoor environment must stimulate and provide various mediums to cater to the changing interests and needs of your kids. These spaces need some thought and planning as they must be able to encompass various activities. The indoor space must have stimulating colors, a play area with toys, and a study space. The more resources the indoor environment has, the more opportunity your kids will have to learn and grow.
3) The Outdoor Environment
The outdoors can offer a plethora of learning opportunities and child development benefits. Outdoor spaces like school playgrounds, community playgrounds, and parks provide a multi-sensory experience that is less restrictive and encourages kids to use and learn through their senses. With playground equipment, various kinds of play like imaginative play, cooperative play, and associative play can be explored. Outdoor play also enables kids to work as a team and encourages collaboration, and cooperation between kids.
Outdoor play has also proven to improve physical skills, communication skills, mental skills, and problem-solving skills. What’s more, playing out in the fresh air and sunlight is also beneficial for the health of kids. However, keep in mind to follow COVID-related safety guidelines before stepping out with your kids.
In conclusion, enabling environments must be created in the early years. The reason being, kids in their early years are more responsive to people and their physical surroundings. Being supported and made to feel safe in an environment is key to child development. Only in such a space can a child feel free to explore, make mistakes without fear, and learn about the world.