WHAT MEMORIES DO WE WANT OUR CHILDREN TO HAVE IN CLASSROOM SPACES?
For a moment consider the elements within your own home that offer you comfort, security and a sense of belonging?
Classrooms are no different they are places that offer children the opportunity for choices, exploration, relaxation, investigation & discovery. A space that engages families through creating connections. A place that reflects our beliefs about children and what they deserve and supports their development, interactions, and their interests.
What is the role of the Early Learning Teacher?
- To be intentional in the design of the environment both inside and outside
- To reflect the children, staff and families in the design of the environment
- To supply materials and activities that reflect the strengths/needs and interests of the children and deepen their explorations
- To provide children with relevant, real, hands-on materials
- To provide long uninterrupted periods of time for children to explore their environment
- To be playful! 🙂
The Room Arrangement Provides a Variety of Learning Areas
When arranging the learning areas, consider their function and their mood. We want to offer children choice so look at the classroom – is there enough room for children to engage with materials? Provide enough materials for each area (need enough materials to have deep exploration for group of children). Once children are in the classroom how do they flow through the areas – do pathways/walkways interfere with children’s play? Did you find any possible barriers to play (create an inclusive play environment for all!) Is the lighting appropriate for the space? and of course expect that children will move materials from area to area to extend play?
Our beliefs about children and how they learn are reflected in the learning environments we create.
The learning environment functions as the “third educator”
What does the environment say to the children? How do the items displayed on the walls enhance and extend children’s thinking? How will we know if the environment is overstimulating, with too many distracting colours and materials? Do we have too many commercial materials that are not of real interest to the children?
In Kindergarten the classroom environment is thoughtfully designed to invite, provoke, and enhance learning, and to encourage communication, collaboration, and inquiry. The space, with all the objects in it, including the various materials and resources for learning, is created and arranged as the children’s learning process unfolds – it is constantly being negotiated by and with the children.
Students in my classroom had the opportunity to design their own individual preschool classroom floor plans. This is one of my favorite engaging activities for students since it gives them the opportunity to learn about the different learning areas in the classroom, look through classroom floor plans and identify areas of improvement and in addition discuss their rationale for designing classrooms.
Some of the Questions Students Had While Designing:
- What is the size of the classroom and what are the interior areas?
- Do the colors of the walls influence children?
- What types of homelike furniture is appropriate?
- Will flooring change throughout the classroom?
- What is the amount of light I will have in the classroom? Should some areas be near the windows?
- What areas are most compatible together?
*The photographs are not mine, they were simply used for the purpose of reflective learning and dialogue.