If you’ve ever simply sat back and watched a small child interact with the space around them, you realize that learning is constantly happening. From hitting blocks together to picking up stones to sticking little fingers where they don’t belong, every action is building knowledge – blocks make noise, stones are heavy, water is wet.
One respected approach to early childhood education, called Reggio Emilia, embraces the environment as “the third teacher” and recommends free access to stimulating resources for uninterrupted exploration, play, and learning, promoting self-expression, communication, logical thinking, and problem-solving.
Inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, Vancouver Community College (VCC) is pleased to announce the opening of a new, dedicated Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) space at the Downtown campus.
Formerly a typical classroom, the new space is split in two, with half composed of four mock learning areas (dramatic play, language and literature, science, and manipulative), and the other half serving as a classroom equipped with folding tables that are easy to move around. The setup of the room can change based on the content being taught. Some days, it becomes an art studio. Other days, it’s a storytelling circle, a music room, or a science lab. By integrating space design as an essential component of the ECCE program, it also encourages students to take initiative in their own learning and the construction of the environment.
Additionally, collaboration and partnership are important attributes of the ECCE profession, so two cohorts share the new space. Elements like sinks, cupboards, and bulletin boards allow other training crucial for child care, including organizing resources, working with families, documentation, and the creation of aesthetically pleasing classrooms.