GCU Creating a Safe Physical Environment for Young Children Case Study

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ASSIGNMENT DESCRIPTIONTo design the physical environment for an inclusive classroom that meets the diverse needs of all students.

You are the early childhood special educator in an inclusive classroom working with children ages three to five. The teaching team has been given $2000 to purchase materials and furniture to help meet the specific needs of the children in the classroom. The teaching team will meet at the end of the week to discuss what is needed. Johannes, one of the four children with autism in the class, appears to be having some sensory integration difficulties. He covers his ears quite frequently when the children make elaborate structures while playing in the block area. Once, he became so overwhelmed that he ran to his cubby, got his blankie, crawled into the toy kitchen, and tried to shut the doors. The team has agreed to come to the meeting with some ideas on how to decrease the noise level.You have also been thinking about creating a small, quiet space in the reading/library corner where Johannes can take a break alone. In general, the area is just a bit too small and underutilized as there is only a bookshelf and a couch. Also, when a child comes to sit next to Johannes while he is reading, Johannes gets up and leaves. As you prepare for the meeting, you think that maybe it’s time to completely redesign the area and add at least one quiet space. Finally, you notice that Johannes frequently seems distracted by looking around, especially at the numbers and letters on the wall during circle time, instead of following the activities and looking at the teacher. For example, he reads the children’s names on the artwork that is displayed right above the circle time teacher’s head. You decide to address this concern at your team meeting.

Focus Assignment: Part 1

1. To prepare for your meeting, you will need to identify four new materials/furniture pieces that can be added or adapted to the environment. You will also need to give your rationale explaining how these materials will decrease the noise level in the block area. Next, create a drawing of your classroom floor plan for the new developmentally appropriate reading/library corner. Be sure to include at least one quiet, small area where Johannes or other children can take a break and be alone. Label the materials/furniture in your drawing.  Finally, write a paragraph describing how you would decrease the visual stimulation on the wall in front of circle time.
2. Be sure to read the SELF-EVALUATION section below to guide your thinking. Write your self-evaluation after you have completed your assignment.
3. Review the assessment rubric to see how your assignment and self-evaluation will be graded.

Self Evaluation: Part 2

1. For your list, floorplan, and paragraph:
a. Explain how redesigning the physical environments addresses the issues in the scenario.
b. Give evidence from the chapter supporting information in your rationale (with citations).
2. Describe and justify how redesigning the environments will help meet the needs of the children in the classroom.

Once you watch the video, these questions need to be answered.

`1. Have you ever seen a classroom and said to yourself, “Wow, what a wonderful environment for children to learn!”? On the other hand, have you ever seen a classroom and wondered whether the classroom is even safe for young children? Creating a safe environment that encourages independent access for all children is of great importance. Watch this video to see how one early childhood center ensures that all children are safe and have access to all the materials in the environment.

Classrooms, in general, need to accommodate a diverse population of children with a variety of abilities from developmentally younger to developmentally brighter as well as children who are English-language learners. Inclusive classrooms have the added responsibility of being able to support children with a variety of disabilities who might also have medical needs. What features of the physical environment does the director discuss that would help to support children with disabilities and special needs in this classroom?

2. What other environmental or material considerations could be addressed in this classroom to help support safety, independent access, and full participation of children with disabilities and special needs?

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