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How the Environment Influences Childhood Development


Our physical environment influences our minds and behaviour more than we realise. It’s especially the case for children who are still rapidly developing (and who are just starting to make sense of the world around them).

How the environment influences childhood development

There have been studies that attempt to quantify and figure out the role of physical environment in childhood learning and overall development (for a comprehensive review you can read this research paper). Studies about the effects of residential type, noise, crowding and tenure have been documented as well as the effects of school and childcare environment (e.g. classroom size, facility quality and available learning resources).

From those studies the conclusions have been consistent: that the physical environment and environmental conditions affect the children’s cognitive and socio-emotional development. After all, children get regular sensory inputs from their environment and these influence how their brain develops. Also, the type of environment they’re in shapes many of the experiences they gain. For example, a crowded classroom might feel that learning and going to school is uncomfortable and chaotic. A noisy household and neighbourhood might signal that there’s no safety and stability. The early social experiences and accompanying stress can shape a child’s further neurological development.

Parents have already known and realised the impact of the environment in a child’s learning, thinking and development, which is why parents are careful about how the home and early learning centre looks and feels like. They make sure that the home, play and learning environment is safe, supportive and nurturing. This way the child can better focus on making friends, learning new concepts and having more fun.

That is our approach here at Dorset as our curriculum incorporates the Early Years Learning Framework and as we make sure that children will feel the environment as safe and secure. Our qualified educators regularly pay attention to what the children sees and touches to further ensure safety. With the educators’ professional guidance, children are further encouraged to play and explore. Contact us today if you want to know more about our curriculum and holistic approach.