This article compares the messages contained in the physical environments of early childhood classrooms in Reggio Emilia, Italy, with typical early childhood settings in Canada and the United States. The article examines the classroom's aesthetic code,, i.e., the social construction created, consciously or unconsciously, by the classroom's environment and its impact on student feelings and social perception. The author discusses how these codes reflect each culture's image of the child, cultural values in general, and broad educational goals. Concluding comments explore the implications that these classroom codes have for art educators.
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