Reflecting on Inspiring Spaces for Young Children

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I was provided the book Inspiring Spaces for Young Children from the Early Learning Consultant in my school division.  I love that it’s picture heavy && full of inspiring quotes and useful information.  I was able to reflect on our current space and put into effect many of the ideas for authentication of each space within our room.

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I am excited to share our inspiring space with you!  This is the general layout of our classroom.

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Block Play Area (&& Whole Group)

Our block play area is also our “whole group” area, which provides a lot of space for building and constructing.  This area of the classroom is the focal point and first view as you enter the classroom- lit by windows and strings of light, it is a warm and welcoming space.  The stairs at the front of the room make the SMARTboard accessible for students, but also provides an interesting area for block play.  The EXTREMELY large alphabet rug in neutral colours creates a soft place for construction & muffles the sounds of falling structures.  The colours in the rug are reflected throughout the classroom.

 

Home Living (&& Library Area)

Our home centre is located in the classroom loft.  It contains authentic furniture & I love that the built in cabinets are at the perfect height for the books.  Students love to sit at the kitchen table or on the couch to enjoy the books.  Our home centre has family photos, lamp lighting, and genuine items for cooking and taking care of the babies.

 

Cozy Retreat

Tucked away under our loft is a place for quiet reflection.  With soft pillows && low lighting children are encouraged to use this area when they need a place to chill.  Positioned away from main traffic areas this is the perfect calming space.  As a Bonus: it also provides some storage underneath the stairs and inside the cabinets.  This area used to be used entirely for storage, however once organized more efficiently it become a usable student space.

 

Science Area

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In front of our window we have a nature inquiry area.  We have student collections sorted and on display, as well as some tools such as plastic pipettes and magnifying glasses. Students can appreciate && explore a variety of plants and natural objects.

 

Art Area

The art areas of our classroom consist of individual arts, collaborative arts, & modelling clay.  All of these areas are conveniently located by our classroom sink.  With materials placed at “child-level”, students are able to independently access what they need and develop responsibility and self-determination.

By using the easels or standing at counter-height, students are able to use a variety of materials such as pastels, paints, crayons (this is where I house my broken crayons, to develop fine motor grasps), pencil crayons, a variety of papers & canvases.  Our current collaborative arts area is a beading invitation set up next to the easel.

Communication Area20170313_160207

The communication area contains a variety of writing tools, letter stamps && tiles, wikki sticks, markers, pencils, pens, etc.  It is located near the shelf where we house our writing books, duotangs, as well as shared “teacher” items (such as staplers, hole punches, etc).

 

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CHANGE;; a timely topic

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I have been enthusiastically reflecting  on CHANGE- the newest topic of the #saskedchat Summer Blogging Challenge.

When I think of change I equate it with opportunity.

This has been a year of great opportunity for me. I entered this year as a grade 1-2 teacher in a local community school, which wasn’t a different assignment for me, but I believe one of the many things I appreciate about our profession is that there is always opportunity and change with each new class of students, and really each new day.  We create routines, consistency, structure && safety in our classrooms yet encounter infinite possibilities for choice, change, and of course learning.

As role models of life long learning we must continue to stretch ourselves in our personal lives, and in our practice and pedagogy.

This year, I made a shift, or change, as I decided to focus more on inquiry and extending play-based learning from Kindergarten to Grades 1 && 2.  Implementing “Discovery Time”- scheduling large blocks of time for student-centred investigations, cooperative play and projects, && community excursions- meant changes for my classroom environment, planning && in some ways my perspective on learning and assessment.

From very early in the year my students were able to demonstrate interdependence in their play-based learning, which allowed me to focus on small group instruction- an area of balanced instruction that I was able to develop.

This year I was also presented the opportunity to become our schools Math Coach && to participate in different mentoring roles within my school division.  In turn, the majority of my professional growth has been in the area of math instruction and assessment && as a collaborator and catalyst.

Then enormous changes happened for me at the end of this school year…

I applied for a Kindergarten position!

At a new school!

&& I got it!

So it has been a summer of changing schools & classrooms, exploring a new curriculum, and all the other experiences that come with;
And these changes will mean an autumn of acquainting myself with a new staff, new school community, new students, and all the other experiences that come with…

I am excited.

Change can mean many things- mixed emotions, stress, work, challenges, experiences, it can mean altering roles and relationships, and it impacts all areas of life-
It can be different, a shift, it can lead to learning and growth- && opportunity.

@mstinyteacher