THE ROLE OF THE SCHOOL SPACE IN PRESCHOOLERS' LEARNING PROCESSES
Purpose of the study
The first aim of the present article was to investigate the role of school environment as an important factor in the learning process of children attending preschools in Istria (i.e. a part of Croatia where many people speak Italian).
The school space is also called “Third educator” by famous pedagogues and it is constituted by labs, corridors, materials shape of the building, colours of the walls, quality of the lightings, type of furnishings and all didactic materials. It is a specific environment where the children live, learn, experience, get in touch with other people.
The method used in our research was both quantitative as qualitative analyses of pedagogical documentation, observation of the environment of preschools and interviews with the educational boards of every school.
The results showed that the school space is mostly in accordance with the requirements of the current legislation of the Country of Croatia and also confirmed the importance of it as “Third educator”, especially when the educators themselves were able to ameliorate the richness of corners and materials made available for children, encouraging in this way the development of the child's independence, maturation of identity and development of competencies.
In conclusion, school environment significantly affects child's learning, both because of the influence of architectural structures as because relational contexts and stimuli offered by the environment and by the educators. It means that the Ministry of Education in any Country should pay attention to the way buildings are constructed, especially regarding the richness of corners and materials at disposal of the children and of the educators.
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