UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Teachers' understandings and beliefs about the role of the learning environment Prasertsintanah, Ladda


The purpose of the study was to investigate early childhood educators' understandings and beliefs about the role of the early childhood learning environment. In particular, this study was conducted in four Reggio Emilia inspired Canadian childcare and preschool classrooms in order to examine how the fundamental principles of the Reggio Emilia approach were interpreted within a Canadian context. Semi-structured interviews were employed with ten educators to investigate their knowledge, experiences, and beliefs about the learning environment. The data sources included interview notes, audiotapes, and photos of the classroom environment without any child/adult present. The teachers’ beliefs about the role of the learning environment were reflected in materials, aesthetics, and documentation. First, the participants believed that children need to have access to a wide range of materials to stimulate and support their play. Second, several participants stressed the importance of creating the sense of well-being that an aesthetically-pleasing and well-kept classroom provides. Finally, the concept of making learning visible requires a number of participants to collect the children’s works and experiences in as many types of media as possible. The findings suggest that such an interpretation of environment is highly dependent on teachers’ and other adults’ views of development; that variations in practices may reflect cultural differences in both beliefs about, and expectations for, their children. In order to move beyond traditional rituals and responsibilities associated with the early childhood setting, more extensive research in early childhood environments is needed.

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