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Designs for Living and Learning: Transforming Early Childhood Environments Paperback – May 1, 2003


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Designs for Living and Learning: Transforming Early Childhood Environments + Learning Together with Young Children: A Curriculum Framework for Reflective Teachers
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Redleaf Press; First edition (May 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1929610297
  • ISBN-13: 978-1929610297
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

For more than 30 years, Margie Carter has worked in the early childhood field including positions as a preschool teacher, child care director, and college instructor. She and Deb Curtis have coauthored seven books, including Designs for Living and Learning. They speak to and consult with child care organizations across the U.S., Canada, and Australia.

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Customer Reviews

This book is referenced daily for new ideas for my infant toddler classroom.
Rixa M. Evershed
This is best book I've found when it comes to beautiful, illustrative pictures of children's learning environments.
Michelle Lewis
It has inspired me to really think about the specific elements of the classroom environment I provide for children.
K. Saiz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By P. Heaphy on August 10, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is worth every penny for early childhood programs who are interested in creating nurturing spaces for children to flourish. Even the look of the book makes you want to savor it - hundreds of color photographs on glossy pages that invite you to browse before even reading the text.
This is not a curriculum book per se, although it certainly offers ideas and suggestions for activities, such as expanding the small block materials with drift wood, smooth stones, and other found materials. It is more about creating an aesthetically pleasing environment in which children can learn and grow AND be comfortable space for children, teachers, and parents alike.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Lewis on November 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
I LOVE this book. This is best book I've found when it comes to beautiful, illustrative pictures of children's learning environments. If you want to create a place that invites children with natural materials, this is the perfect book to inspire you. Leave commercialism and plastic toys behind...you can do it! I love this book. Did I already say that? I'd buy two if they were cheaper!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D. G. W. on July 16, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wish there had been more information connecting the pictures of the designs to the reasons behind them. Information about how the different decorating ideas connected to different learning styles or programs--Reggio Emilia, Montessori, special programs for Gifted, Autistic or behaviorally challenged/emotionally handicapped chilren would have been helpful.

A review of any available research on whether or not certain design schemes led to increased learning, decreased behavioral problems, more parental involvement would also have been nice. As it stands, this book is mainly a collection of lovely pictures, ideas, and anecdotal reports from fellow teachers that can inspire you to create a beautiful and comfortable environment for your students.

A caveat--many of the designs are lovely--hanging umbrellas from the ceiling, building indoor gazebos, hanging strings of lights, mirrored shelves and tables, etc.--but would never fly, at least in my state, with the fire marshall and early childhood safety inspectors. The book suggests that inspectors can be swayed by a good talking to about the importance of your indoor gazebo to your students' development, but this is not usually the case. I am not permitted, for example, to have paper or wood sticking out more than an inch from the wall, or use any extension cords, or hang anything from the ceiling, and I have a feeling other teachers might run into the same problems. Take the inspiration and run with it, but do so cautiously.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By a.m. hernandez on September 29, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Seeing this book gives me much hope that early childhood centers don't have to look like catalog-ordered institutions. The work displayed in the several pictures provided shows a tremendous dedication and knowledge by the teachers. Some of my favorite ideas: the use of mirrors to allow children to see double images as they play and work with their toys on top of them; the framing of kids artwork like it was the latest abstract show to hit New York; the use of projectors for color, letter and numbers; a space for the teacher to show his/her life outside the classroom. What I thought could have been stronger in the book was the connection between the designs and the learning. One school hung pastel umbrellas on the ceiling of the classrooms. I would have like to of read quotes from children as their curiosity, imagination and intellect got stimulated; the teachers' purpose behind the design and the connection to the curriculum. Were the teachers inspired by the children's interest in rain and umbrellas and the design helped to explain more about rain, tools for keeping us dry, etc.? Other useful, practical things needed in the book: cost of materials for the designs; time put in to make the designs; directions and rules, if any, given to children on usage; and if state regulations prevented teachers from doing a specific project because of safety reasons, how did some teachers/directors work with their state office to approve the project. Finally, how did the overall designs work with the rest of the classroom (we're only shown one picture of one design within a room) and how long were these designs kept before new ones were in place.
Overall, you'll be inspired to recreate your room from top to bottom. You won't be disappointed.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ellen on July 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
I'm just a stay at home mom but the centers/daycares in this book look so great I wish I could send my kids! I am inspired to start my own family childcare using these ideas, they are really helpful and right on target. Creative and economical ideas, this book is not a waste of money. Many many photographs, too.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By K. Saiz on May 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is filled with beautiful color photographs of early childhood environments around the country. It has inspired me to really think about the specific elements of the classroom environment I provide for children. Read this book if you want to offer young children more than commercialized, cartoon filled classrooms. It will inspire you!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. M. Cooper on August 17, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a director of a fairly new child development center, I am always looking for new ideas to make our center as comfortable for the children as possible. This book has some wonderful ideas that don't require a lot of money, which is nice because we are always short. It suggests using things you find at yard sales and thrift shops.
The advice given does, however require lots of upkeep and adult supervision. It recommends lots of things, such as using lots of natural items in the sensory area like tree bark and rocks and giving the children more freedom to make a mess and explore to their hearts content. This makes it harder on the teachers because there is more clean up and it takes a lot of encouragement on my part to implement these changes, but it is worth it in the end.
When the children are happier and have plenty to keep them busy, the teacher's jobs become easier.,
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