The Nebraska Department of Education and the Iowa Department of Education (1994) describe an appropriate learning environment for the young child:
"The primary learning environment provides time and opportunities for children to experience and respond creatively to their world. The learning environment is social in nature, providing a secure and stimulating climate for all children. It provides time and opportunities for children to take appropriate risks and to explore and investigate their world. Children have experiences which encourage them to interact with others, to develop interpersonal skills, and to work and learn cooperatively." (p. 3)
Lombardi (1992) notes that the early childhood environment should be based on developmentally appropriate practice:
"Programs for young children should not be seen as either play-oriented or academic. Rather, developmentally appropriate practice, whether in a preschool or a primary classroom, should respond to the natural curiosity of young children, reaffirm a sense of self, promote positive disppositions towards learning, and help build increasingly complex skills in the use of language, problem solving, and cooperation."