The renowned early childhood education approach, Reggio Emilia, often referred to the classroom environment as a child’s “third teacher,” how the space was designed would shape how a child learned. This year, thanks to funding from PNC Bank, SLPS Early Childhood Education classroom educators will get to dream big and re-think their classroom spaces. Dr. Robert Dillon, a national leader in this conversation and author of SPACE: A Guide for Educators, will lead teachers in transforming classroom spaces. As he explains, “this isn’t about decorating, this is about amplifying learning.” “We want our students to walk into environments that spark imagination and confidence,” says Clarissa Ross, SLPS Early Childhood Education Coordinator, who is overseeing the effort. Educators will meet throughout the year to assess their own possibilities, do site visits to nearby creative classrooms, rethink and model new ways of enhancing their spaces. “We are envisioning classrooms that bridge the ‘experience gap’ that our youngest learners might have. They have peers in affluent districts exposed to so many opportunities, our goal is for classrooms to offer that same level of discovery,” notes Dr. Dillon.

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