• Yasmeen Kamrani Sallam

The Environment as the Third Teacher

Have you ever heard that the classroom environment is the third teacher? This concept is part of the world acclaimed Reggio Emilia Approach which was founded by Italian Early Childhood Educator Loris Malaguzzi.

What does Environment as the Third Teacher Mean? “There are three teachers of children: adults, other children, and their physical environment.” Loris Malaguzzi. Malaguzzi emphasized that the environment plays a central role in the process of making learning meaningful. He defined the environment as the third teacher which is a flexible environment, responsive to the need for teachers and children to create learning together.


In order to set up the third teacher you need to design your environment with purpose and intent. When you intentionally and purposefully design the learning environment, the third teacher becomes a flexible engaging environment, responsive to the need for teachers and children to create learning together.

In order to promote the hunger for learning, we should create environments in that reflect the environment as the third teacher. Therefore something such as a rug has importance in a child‘s environment. Yes you read that right, a rug. While a rug is only a small part of the environment they provide a comfortable warm inviting space for children to play, learn, explore and they also bring organization by defining a space in the environment.


Whether it’s defining a comfy corner, building area, story/circle time base, it is a great addtion to any classroom, playroom, or bedroom. Children’s Factory Circle Braid Brown Rug makes it easy to segment a room intentionally into different learning nooks designed to enhance a child’s environment to become a creative space that invites a child to thrive and learn.

Here are three ways to use the rug intentionally:


1. Place the rug with a Whatsit™ to create a segment in the environment where a child can decompress to relax and read, encourage large gross motor movement (building obstacle courses) relax, and ignite their imagination of creating a fort, castle, boat and more.


2. Use the rug as a defined place that promotes open ended play such as building with blocks, figurines, loose parts play, and more!



3. The rug can be a great area to create an inviting reading center that promotes literacy by placing a basket of books and cozy Woodland Cube Chairs.


In order to promote the hunger and love for learning, creating environments that reflect the environment as the third teacher provides that space for children to thrive in.




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