"The idea of institutionalized childhoods does not create a pretty picture," wrote Jim Greenman in the book, Caring Spaces, Learning Places (now newly revised by Mike Lindstrom). To help programs assess how institutionalized (or, hopefully not) children's experience may feel, Greenman developed what he calls an Unscientific Quiz:
"____ Room: Do children have ample room and different places to be during the day?
____ Time: Do children have some control over time – starting and ending activities and routines?
____ Privacy: Do children have any space to feel alone – places to pause?
____ Personal Property: Do children have a protected place for personal property?
____ Meaning and Responsibility: Do children have the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the community?
____ Exuberance and Spontaneity: Are children allowed to jump for joy or dive into something? Pursue an interest? Change directions?
____ Security, Safety, and Order: Are children allowed to risk the normal bumps and bruises of childhood?
____ Significant Others in the Outside World: Are siblings, parents, and extended family a symbolic or real presence in the center and an occasional part of the child’s center life?
____ Staff: Are staff treated and respected as valuable, intelligent human beings?
____ Individuality: Are children recognized and appreciated as individuals with personalities, interests, and cultures in practice?
____ Dignity and Respect: Are children and adults considered people who are entitled to dignity and respect?"
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The newest revision of Caring Spaces, Learning Places is a book of ideas, observations, problems, solutions, examples, resources, photographs, and poetry. Here you will find current thinking about children's environments to challenge, stimulate, and inspire you.
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