Roy, I love surprises! Thanks for deconstructing the phrase. I giggled when I read the last one:
'learning' - run out of ideas here
I'm always drawn to visuals and enjoyed the pope photos, with all the possibilities of what they are thinking, how they are influencing what goes on in that space in so many different ways.
One thing that came to mind when looking at these photos and thinking about learning spaces (one possible interpretation of "where") is invitation. There might be an intended learner, but without the invitation engagement might not happen the same way. I might be thinking more about welcoming than inviting, but there's something to be said for connecting with open arms rather than simply being available, and expecting that people will relate to you because of who you are.
Syvia, invitating and welcoming works for me. It is indeed more then 'simply being available' - its inviting people to enter into a relationship, a dance, a conversation, a mutual silence (add to taste ...)
The critical threshold for a Montessori 'Directress' as well as a Montessori parent is to welcome, show, and then to step back and put your hands behind your back, and shut up, so that the learner can figure out if the invitation and welcome articulates with what they need at that point in their own development (or not), and get on with it (all happens intuitively and implicitly if the welcome is open enough). Some people (Directresses and parents) find this almost impossible to do.
An open welcome also welcomes a 'no thank you' response - as and important part of learning. The young bird in your picture might not be so lucky!