Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

The Organisation of Opportunities

Kathleen Tuite


Tuesday 18 July 2017

This time of year sees many changes in early years’ settings, from children moving on to primary school, running summer programmes, holding special activity camps to perhaps settings closing altogether for the summer months. With all this ebbing and flowing in settings, summer time is a good time to give some thought to how the setting might look later on in the year.  September is traditionally the busiest month, with new intakes of pre-school children, settling-in, meeting and greeting new children and parents and maybe introducing new staff. So, as we move steadily toward September, it is a good time to think about how our early years’ environments might look and what opportunities they will provide for children. Ideally these spaces should be comfortable, safe, ready to provoke children’s thinking, stimulate their ideas, and be planned in such a way that the materials and equipment can be used in multi-ways.  We need to give thought to the type of materials/equipment (both indoor and outdoor) in all our spaces, to ensure that they are available, accessible and stimulating for all age groups. We must consider whether they contain enough materials which are open-ended, offer complexity in order to allow children to invent and come up with their own constructions. Contain enough ‘loose parts’ to support an emergent, inquiry based curriculum. And be well planned to move with the child/children as they grown in confidence and competence throughout the year.

We need to think about the ‘environment’ as a powerful teacher and the ‘environment’ as a communicator and shaper of values. We want to create environments which are beautiful, intriguing, soothing, sparking children’s curiosity and igniting learning. Places where children are eager to spend their days, pursuing wonder and finding joy!

Early Years Educators must go deeper than what is merely seen at eye level and develop a deep understanding of the underlying principles and of children’s thinking, questions, and curiosities.


Growing a Culture of Inquiry through Art.  Ann Pelo, reminds us of the ‘Language of Art’ – children use the Language of art to construct meaning and understanding. Consider how your art materials are organised, what time is available for children to explore on their own and with an early years’
Educator’s guidance.


Include items that reflect children’s home life and invite discussion.


“What children learn does not follow as an automatic result from what is taught, rather, it is in large part due to the children’s own doing, as a consequence of their activities and our resources”. Loris Malaguzzi, The Hundred Languages of Children.


Promoting scientific inquiry.


Stimulate thinking and develop meaning making alongside interested and motivated early years educators.


Think about arrangement and organisation of resources.


 You could also take a look at our webpage Inspiring Practice  for more ideas and keep an eye on our Facebook page, and previous blog posts ‘Wonderful Loose Parts’, ‘Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder’ and ‘Early Years Educators supporting scientific enquiry with young children’.

The Aistear/Síolta Practice Guide provides resources for reflecting on pre-school environments, in the Environment pillar and the Play pillar.

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

trust(2) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Storytelling(1) Seas Suas(1) Nuturing interactions(1) Gardening(1) Music(1) RIE philosphy(1) Motor neuron disease(1) Reggio(1) Awards(2) Fabric(1) UNCRC(1) Builders(1) Graduate(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) First 5 strategy(1) transitions(8) Magda Gerber(1) listen(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Decision Making(1) Certificate(1) Behaviour(3) risk assessment(1) educarer(1) CPD(1) Traffic Lights(1) baby room(1) Research Seminar(1) refugees(1) Graduation(1) Síolta QAP(1) Thank you(1) Empathy(1) curriculum(5) Our Little Seed(1) NCCA(1) budget(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) Sweets(1) Policy(2) Community involvement(1) worries(1) story time(1) experience(1) Settling in(1) meals(2) Learning Story(1) ECEC(1) Favouritism(1) Inclusion(1) mushrooms(1) Shoes(1) Weather(1) SPICE Framework(1) GDPR(1) The Jelly King(1) Sustainability(2) Engineers Week(1) Magnavacchi(1) Book Club(2) Treasure(1) Drawing(2) Margy Whalley(1) Jenga(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Italy(1) Advocacy(1) science(3) Event Guide(1) Window(1) Affordability(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) First 5(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) documentation(2) Mount Everest(1) Photographs(1) outdoors(3) Through the looking glass(1) Identity and Belonging(2) Afghanistan(1) outdoor play(5) Art(6) Light table(1) Touch(1) Twitter(1) interacting(2) Professionalisation(4) development(5) environments(1) linc(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Decisions(1) Santa(2) preschool(1) Quality(3) Learning journals(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(1) Primary School(1) Norway(2) Ariana Pucci(1) Communicating(1) Sport(1) Montessori(2) Socioemotional development(1) community(4) National Awards 2018(2) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Recycle(1) science week(2) NAEYC(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Biting(1) Winter(1) Line-ups(1) Meet the Members(1) under 3's(3) communication(4) ICBN(1) Titles(1) Arts(1) dogs(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Inspired Practice Award(3) Childcare(1) Plants(1) Running(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Training(2) San Minia(1) Sculptures(1) Celebrations(4) Playschool(1) parents(5) Funding(1) Penguins(1) University(1) social media(1) early childhood educator(1) Laughter(1) Capable(1) Pobal(1) eating(1) animals(2) Blocks(1) learning(14) Time Out(1) Party(1) MECPI(1) memories(1) Awards 2018(3) EM Standing(1) Love(1) AIM(1) ECCE(5) Home Corner(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Confident(1) Irish(1) Prexit(1) risk(2) Upcycling(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) Xbox(1) Care routines(1) play(26) Adoption(1) Oireachtas(1) books(4) Leprechauns(1) Snakes(1) Exploring(1) Masterclass(2) role playing(1) Engineering(2) routine(2) Maria Montessori(1) DCYA(3) Inspirational(2) Care-giving routines(1) Well-Being(3) Map(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Leargas(1) Interests(1) outdoor space(3) conversations(1) planning(1) dining(1) Administrative Burden(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) research(4) Kerry(1) feisty(1) Giraffe(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(1) Degree(1) Wesco(1) grandchild(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Investment(1) Sequins(1) Budget 2018(1) Routines(1) Self Help Skills(1) Snacks(1) play stories(1) PIP(1) educating(1) Potential(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Frustrations(1) Halloween(2) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Positivity(1) Supernanny(1) Learning Stories Award(2) Pen green(1) Syria(1) Impact(1) Mud kitchens(1) Children's Rights(1) Eritrea(1) Craft(1) Síolta(77) listening(1) Learning Story Awards(1) reading(4) toddlers(3) Recycling(1) MA(1) Time(1) Bereavement(1) Painting(1) Cork(1) Autism(2) Deirdre Rogers(1) Wendy Lee(2) Visitors(1) Story(1) overhear(1) Growing up in Ireland(1) Creative(1) INTO(1) bonds(1) College(1) Trade union(1) dublin(2) Family(1) National Holiday(1) Maynooth(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Death(1) Ceremony(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) Sustainable(1) Wrapping paper(1) Budget 2019(2) Children(1) Mixed age groups(2) friendships(1) Glitter(2) Early Learning and Care(1) Grief(1) christmas(8) Exclusion(1) Environment(1) Playdough(1) Health(1) EECERA 2016(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Queues(1) Brain(1) respect(4) Self-Esteem(1) Aistear(82) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Games(1) Thinking(1) journey(1) Culture(2) Magic(1) Consent(1) risky play(2) Wilenski(1) San Miniato(3) Traditions(2) Exit interview(1) Trade Unions(1) Vertical grouping(1) Technology(2) Orla Kenny(1) Belonging(3) Self-regulation(1) Malaguzzi(1) Flowers(1) Family wall(1) Creativity(4) Fantasy play(1) Names(1) Online(1) Scents(1) Childhood(1) education(2) Scéalta Blog(60) Imagination(2) Cognitive development(1) Wonder(1) Maths Week(1) Role play(1) STEM(2) Mayo(1) Spiders(1) emotions(2) Children's Research Network(1) Competent(1) Lego(2) CIT(1) Gratitude(1) Valentine's Day(2) Mathematicians(1) Independence(1) scéalta(15) Vietnam(1) Educators(1) dining experiences(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Snack Time(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Mark Twain(1) Kilkenny(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Learning Stories(7) Feeding(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Qualifications(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) Performing(1) ears(1) stories(2) Academics(1) Easter(1) Early Years Educators(1) Trick or treat(1) Meal time(1) Loss(1) Iraq(1) blog(25) Access and Inclusion Model(1) Identity(4) early years research(1) relationships(11) babies(5) ReCreate(2) Treasure Chest(1) Interactions(1) pets(1) ERASMUS+(3) Annual Conference 2017(2) Maths(3) Limerick(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Facebook(1) curiosity(3) Kids Own(1) AsIAm(1)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine