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:

Study Trip(1) Síolta QAP(1) NCCA(2) Family wall(1) Learning Stories(7) Human Resources(1) Thank you(1) Queues(1) Mo Scéal(1) Exit interview(1) Awards 2019(1) New Appointments(1) Gardening(1) INTO(1) Challenges(1) worries(1) Upcycling(1) Learning journals(1) Vertical grouping(1) National Awards 2019(1) Maths(4) Quality(3) Laugh(1) Wilenski(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Engineering(2) Party(1) Maths Week(1) Qualifications(1) Spiders(1) feisty(1) risk(2) Pobal(1) learning(15) RTE Investigates(1) The Jelly King(1) Masterclass(2) Relaxation(1) Mathematicians(1) outdoors(3) Potential(1) Glitter(2) Visual Impairment(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) Mindfulness(2) Valentine's Day(3) Breathing(2) AsIAm(1) San Miniato(4) Playdough(1) Recycle(1) Maynooth(1) Supernanny(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Light table(1) Policy(2) Access and Inclusion Model(2) refugees(1) Ceremony(1) linc(1) Vietnam(1) The Lullaby Book(1) European Project(1) risk assessment(1) Fabric(1) Funding(1) UD(1) Visitors(1) Easter(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) emotional environment(1) Mount Everest(1) Children's Rights(1) Administrative Burden(1) Workforce(1) science week(2) Wesco(1) Cognitive development(1) ICBN(1) Little Buddies(1) CIT(1) Book Club(2) Online(1) early childhood educator(1) Siolta blog(2) Maynooth University(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Flowers(1) Treasure(1) Certificate(1) Playschool(1) Workplace Relations(3) Deirdre Rogers(1) Arts(1) journey(1) Training(2) Mantra(1) Performing(1) Mayo(1) San Minia(1) Loss(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Early Years Educators(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) EECERA 2016(1) grandchild(1) Budget 2018(1) Santa(2) Employee(1) Seas Suas(1) Consent(1) Oireachtas(1) Interaction(1) christmas(8) GDPR(1) Community involvement(1) routine(2) Yoga(1) baby room(1) Treasure Chest(1) Grief(1) Celebrate(1) Prexit(1) Meet the Members(1) Reggio Emilia(1) EM Standing(1) PIP(1) food(1) Buddy Bench(1) Social Skills(1) Maternity Leave(1) friendships(1) Wendy Lee(2) Nonverbal(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Lego(2) Kids Own(1) Trade union(1) Blocks(1) Fantasy play(1) development(8) Patterns(1) Thanks(1) Celebrations(4) Inspirational(2) Meal time(1) science(3) Drawing(2) Jenga(1) Family(1) Names(1) Imagination(3) educating(1) Tuscan Approach(2) communication(4) Exploring and Thinking(1) Photographs(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) Body Language(1) pets(1) Plastic(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Maria Montessori(1) Stress(2) MA(1) respect(5) Death(1) Bereavement(1) Frustrations(1) Identity(4) Buddies(1) Sociodramatic play(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) Sequins(1) Diversity(1) Eritrea(1) Magic(1) Interests(1) emotions(2) Decisions(1) Games(1) Capable(1) Inclusion(3) Positivity(1) CPD(1) NAEYC(1) supportive environments(1) scéalta(25) Awards(2) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Educators(1) Learning Stories Award(3) Art(6) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(1) Engineers Week(2) bonds(1) community(5) child-centred approach(1) Mud kitchens(1) Gratitude(1) Event Guide(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Winter(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Cork(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) Role play(1) animals(2) Weather(1) STEM(2) Mixed age groups(2) National Awards 2018(2) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) under 3's(3) Feeding(1) Confidence(1) eating(1) babies(7) TOY Programme(1) Sweets(1) Painting(1) experience(1) budget(1) Pobal sector profile(1) Touch(1) social media(1) ECCE(6) Magnavacchi(1) Affordability(1) National Pyjama Day(1) conversations(1) MECPI(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Self-regulation(1) Childcare(2) National Holiday(1) Sustainable(1) Professionalisation(4) reading(4) transitions(10) Trigonometry(1) listening(1) Scents(1) Story(1) Afghanistan(1) Children's Research Network(1) Appreciation(1) Limerick(1) maternity health(1) curriculum(5) Dance(1) SPICE Framework(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) preschool(2) Nuturing interactions(1) First 5(1) Advocacy(1) Change(1) Design(1) Albert Einstein(1) Inspired Practice Award(5) Growing up in Ireland(3) Valerie Gaynor(1) TRAP(1) Competent(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Confident(1) risky play(2) documentation(2) Iceland(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) mushrooms(1) Technology(2) Sculptures(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Music(3) Sleep(1) Thinking(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Care-giving routines(1) Arlene Forster(1) Favouritism(1) Montessori(2) Health(1) Shapes(1) Through the looking glass(1) Leargas(1) Performance Management(1) role playing(1) ECEC(1) Teamwork(1) IGL(1) Map(1) Anxiety(2) Halloween(2) Empathy(1) outdoor space(3) Running(1) Orla Kenny(1) Syria(1) Early Learning and Care(1) Obesity(1) DCYA(4) St. Patrick's Day(1) UN(1) Ariana Pucci(1) Inter-generational learning(1) Inter-generational(1) Learning Story(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Our Little Seed(1) Behaviour(3) Workplace well-being(1) AIM(2) Christmas Creativity(2) Liz Kerrins(1) books(4) educarer(1) Sustainability(3) Window(1) Communications(1) dogs(1) Síolta(100) Self Help Skills(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) early years research(1) Autism(3) play stories(1) Graduation(1) Culture(2) Twitter(1) Mealtimes(1) Penguins(1) Iraq(1) education(2) Scéalta Blog(82) Emergent Curriculum(1) Well-Being(6) research(6) Giraffe(2) Traditions(2) listen(1) dining(1) Italy(1) Horizon 2020(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) overhear(1) Adoption(1) First 5 strategy(1) curiosity(3) Sport(1) Support(1) Magda Gerber(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Trade Unions(1) Pen green(1) Belonging(3) trust(3) Xbox(1) Traffic Lights(1) Facebook(1) Settling in(3) Exclusion(1) Wrapping paper(1) Environment(2) Children(1) Aistear(105) Communicating(1) ERASMUS+(3) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Creative(1) Primary School(2) blog(28) United Nations(1) Time(1) Creativity(4) Shoes(1) interacting(2) Socioemotional development(1) Snacks(1) relationships(14) Recycling(2) RIE philosphy(1) Identity and Belonging(3) University(1) Line-ups(1) memories(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) outdoor play(6) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(1) Brain(1) Laughter(1) Arithmetic(1) Builders(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Investment(1) Plants(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) Early Childhood Care and Education(1) Decision Making(1) Exercise(1) Craft(1) College(1) Degree(1) Early Years(1) Malaguzzi(1) Academics(1) toddlers(3) stories(2) Snakes(1) Independence(1) Care routines(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) planning(1) Trick or treat(1) Japan(1) Titles(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(1) Home Corner(1) Graduate(1) Learning Story Awards(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) ReCreate(2) play(29) meals(3) Mark Twain(1) Wonder(1) Awards 2018(3) Budget 2019(2) Research Seminar(1) Smiles(1) Research Conference 2019(1) story time(1) UNCRC(1) Storytelling(2) Margy Whalley(1) dining experiences(1) Rituals(1) Exploring(1) Childhood(1) Self-Esteem(1) Love(2) Child mental health(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Biting(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Kerry(1) Interactions(2) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) parents(5) Reggio(1) Mental Health(3) Norway(2) Universal Design(2) Leprechauns(1) Time Out(1) Snack Time(1) Routines(1) Irish(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) ears(1) environments(1) dublin(2) Kilkenny(1) CCTV(1) Academic Skills(1) Motor neuron disease(1) Impact(1) Nutrition(1)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine