Why it is important for ECSE educators to be knowledgeable about environmental arrangement?
Awareness on environmental arrangement is important for ECSE educators to be able to plan the organization and placement of equipment and belongings in a classroom, ways of placing furniture, and type of activities to promote the required behavior and to decrease the opportunity of inappropriate behavior in classroom. Proper environmental arrangement is beneficial through the increase of social interaction between peers and increased number of communicative acts between kids and peers / adults. Environmental arrangement is used for groups of different sizes: small and large, and for individual education. Before engaging into educational activity, environmental arrangements should be made, following by one of the strategies of environmental arrangement: 1) arranging schedules, or 2) arranging materials. Proper environmental arrangement facilitate optimization of the amount of positive social response in children. Appropriate behavioral patterns (educational and social) are supported by the environmental arrangement, instructions on social skills, and implementation of positive behavior strategies.
Other information about environmental arrangement
Control of environmental settings is important for practical experiences of children, but not all settings allow equal environmental control options. “A continuum of options for practicum settings” (Macy, 2009, p. 211) was developed to assist ECSE educators in differentiating between the high and low level of environmental settings.
Environmental arrangements and adaptation of educating strategies are essential for the following educational intervention practicum areas (Macy, 2009, p. 215): 1) foundations in early intervention, 2) typical and atypical development, 3) infant, toddler, and preschool assessment, 4) family involvement, 5) design of intervention, 6) implementation of intervention, 7) evaluation of intervention, and 8) interdisciplinary and interagency collaboration. Appropriate adaptation is achieved through evaluation of child’s and whole class’s progress, environmental arrangements, designing learning activities, and putting them on daily routines, etc.
Environmental arrangement is important within both in classroom and at home settings. Educational intervention provision can be conducted by parents as continued parental intervention after the intensive treatment is characterized by gaining, not losing the initially acquired skills (Ingersoll, 2006, p. 79). Parent training is an important element of intervention programs for autistic children. Parental educational intervention consists of 2 teaching techniques: naturalistic behavioral and developmental (indirect and direct teaching strategies). These compatible strategies are efficient for interaction between the child and adult, and for the development of “teaching novel language and play skills” (Ingersoll, 2006, p. 81), and consequently, these strategies facilitate socio-communicational development through following child’s lead in communicational attempts, whereas adults treat each of them as successful and purposeful. These strategies are not currently applied within the classroom environmental settings. “Parent training curriculum” (Ingersoll, 2006, p. 82) demands environmental arrangements that require setting up the appropriate environment at home in order to achieve success, and to apply different strategies for environmental arrangement, including but not limited to inadequate portions, sabotage, in sight-out of reach, silly situations, and assistance, etc. Parents can facilitate heir environmental arrangement by reinforcing it with environment related prompts, questions, mand-models, etc.
In classroom pre-K ECSE settings facilitate interaction between child and teacher, and thus, child’s language skills affect this interaction. Language development in ECSE classroom settings has positive relation to inter-peer communication (it is affected both by peers and by quality of application of the instructional quality of the predictive model). Characteristics of the classroom along with child’s teacher and peers influence language development of the child within the preschool year. “Structural features of classrooms are readily observable, concrete attributes of the environment, such as teacher-child ratio and teacher credentials, whereas process features are more dynamic elements that are difficult to quantify” (Yeomans-Maldonado, 2017, p. 11). Language skills acquisition depends on peer effects (ECSE classroom) and classroom quality (process feature).Quality of classroom somewhat depends on teacher’s skills and expertise.
- Ingersoll, B., & Dvortcsak, A. (2006). Including Parent Training in the Early Childhood Special Education Curriculum for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 8(2), pp. 79-87. Retrieved from https://msu.edu/~ingers19/lab/Parent%20Training%20in%20the%20Schools.pdf.
- Macy, M., Squires, J. K., & Barton, E. E. (2009). Structuring Practicum Experiences in Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education Preservice Programs. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 28(4), pp. 209-218. DOI: 10.1177/0271121408327227.
- Yeomans-Maldonado, G., Justice, L. M., & Logan, J. A. (2017). The Mediating Role of Classroom Quality on Peer Effects and Language Gain in Pre-Kindergarten ECSE Classrooms. Applied Developmental Science, pp. 1-13. DOI: 10.1080/10888691.2017.1321484.