Who Is Our Third Teacher?

JEMA’s design for Urban Sprouts’ Early Childhood Center is based on Executive Director Ellicia Quall’s pedagogical philosophy that there is another teacher besides a child’s parent and their school teacher. This third teacher is vital…and always there.

Who is this “third teacher”?

It is the environment. Yes, that’s right: our environment.

Based on the Reggio Emilia pedagogy, the environment is viewed as the Third Teacher, “with the power to provoke curiosity and learning, and encourage interaction.” (Qualls).

JEMA’s design seeks to “bring forth” the Third Teacher. The new center features a “Main Street” and a “Piazza.” Both spaces are lit with skylights. The HVAC ductwork, sprinkler piping and lighting are all exposed giving the children an opportunity to see “behind the curtains” and explore the “front of house” as well as “back of house” environment of a building.