Designs for Living and Learning

Redleaf Press

“Curtis and Carter have done it again! This is a winner of a book! They're putting a whole new light on early care and education - a light that was in danger of being lost in the glare of the homogenizing and institutionalizing trends so prevalent in the field.

Not that their underlying philosophy is new. In fact, they are giving new twists to the sound principles on which the field is founded, principles that having gotten stretched and molded over the years into the cookie-cutter approach so common across the nation.

Reading Designs for Living and Learning made me itch to get back into a classroom and try out some of those great ideas they've come up with. Anybody who can teach an old dog like me new tricks deserves lots of attention! I predict this book will become an all time best seller!.”
Janet Gonzales-Mena, College Instructor, Author, Consultant

Designs for Living and Learning:
Transforming Early Childhood Environments

In Designs for Living and Learning, you will discover principles for creating spaces and choosing materials for children from infants through school-age. This exceptional book features hundreds of full color photographs from early care and education programs around the United States. You will find resources for unusual and affordable materials, and learn to set up “invitations for learning” that combine traditional and non-traditional materials and invite curiosity and exploration. And, you will read stories of directors and licensors negotiating options.

With self reflection activities at the beginning and ending of each chapter, Designs for Living and Learning is useful as a college text and for individual teachers and directors seeking inspiration and practical yet creative ideas.



  • Introduction: Where have we been and where are we going?
  • Chapt 1: Laying a foundation for living and learning
  • Chapt 2: Creating connections and a sense of belonging
  • Chapt 3: Keeping space flexible and materials open-ended
  • Chapt 4: Designing natural environments which engage the senses
  • Chapt 5: Provoking wonder, curiosity and intellectual engagement
  • Chapt 6: Engaging children in symbolic representation and literacy
  • Chapt 7: Enhancing children's use of the environment
  • Chapt 8: Facing down barriers and negotiating change
  • Appendix with resources and assessment tools



Price: $39.95