Environment as Curriculum: How Our Spaces Invite Whole-Person Learning Experiences

Environment as Curriculum and invitation to engage with the world: 

At Treehouse Learning, we value caring for ourselves, one another, and the world around us. This shows up in the ways we care for ourselves, other people and things, and our planet. Embedded into our curriculum are the rituals, responsibilities and joys of caring for people and things. At mealtimes, children participate in the process of preparing and cleaning up eating areas. We provide high quality materials and model how to treat them gently and appropriately. We practice sorting trash, compost, and recycling alongside children. 

Daily nature walks in our neighborhood invite us to experience the rhythm of the seasons around us- snow tracks to stomp, budding flowers to spy, cherries to pick, or colorful leaves to gather. Abundant outside play time foster an appreciation and love of nature. These all spport learning objectives by engaging multiple senses in experiencing the natural world around us. 

We intentionally consider our classroom equipment and furniture, which feature intentionally designed play-centers made of high-quality equipment that are meant to last for years and years! Even young children can tell the difference between a material that is quality and something that was designed to wind up in a landfill and be re-purchased in perpetuity. Quality materials teaches children how to care for things around them, including the things in the world and the world itself.

Our outdoor campus is also part of our curriculum. Our opportunities to engage with trees, plants, and other living things teaches us about the world around us and inspires the way we care for it. Our spaces are intentionally designed to invite the sort of care and stewardship that communicates respect for people and things, and belonging to each other and the earth.

Our guiding principles are simple yet profound. We belong to ourselves, each other, and the world, and because of this, we respect and care for ourselves, each other, and the world with all of the things in it!

Image of a series of multi-colored fidget spinners mounted to a natural stained wooden board, which provide a sensory experience for self-regulation in the toddler hallway

Engaging in an environment inviting us to come play…

Maybe you’ve noticed our Lobby and Big Room are often set up with some invitations for your child (and you!) to play.  Even our hallways are sensory landscapes through which to observe, interact, and engage- we have an entire interactive display of fidget spinners just waiting to be spun! Playing is not just a part of learning, playing is HOW learning actually takes place. Children intuitively know how to play, but sometimes we adults need to be reminded. The easiest way to remember how to play is to lower ourselves to children’s eye level, see the world through their eyes, and simply say yes to the invitation to discover the world alongside your child.

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