Full Time Kindergarten Teacher
Leo Nickerson School
This summer I had to change schools. This was a great change for me for I had been teaching an AM and PM kindergarten class traveling between two schools. The room I received was a small one, and I was not given a budget. The walls had bulletin boards encircling it, each panel painted with the primary colors in their strongest values. The walls were shabby, shelving needed sanding and painting and I did not like the arborite counters either.
I chose the softer hues of all the colours. The wall is actually a beautiful yellow called light toast. It goes with every colour imaginable. The shelves and bulletin boards were painted apple peel white (a warm white). For the art studio I outlined one of my shelves with a poppy red and the other shelves were painted poppy red. I have poppies in a vase standing there and the sand table is the same. These areas call to the children and are “theirs”.
The room looks twice the size and is bright and beautiful. I have suggested a loft to the parents as that is my next goal. A parent project for them as well as the children and myself. It was the unpacking and moving that nearly did me in and it is only now that I can reflect on the experience and begin some sort of catch up work.
One thing did come through. If I had not studied Reggio principles in the last 4 years or read books like the Atelier, have visited Reggio etc. this classroom would not exist as it does in its present form. Three years from now it will probably be a bit different again. Change is not always visible to ourselves. It can occur so slowly that perhaps we are unaware of the true impact of this study of Reggio that so many of us have embarked upon. Sometimes we get lost in the struggle and cannot measure the markers along the way.
One thing is now clearer to me. The classroom had to be shaped and designed this way because of the kind of work that is now taking place within it. An adoption of new understandings, an enlightening and giving up of ‘cultural knots’, a designing of the environment so that it can be a teacher, so that it can highlight the documentation the work that goes on there, so that children can make it theirs and invent their own wishes, desires, creations within it, a place we can call ours. I have changed and the classroom reflects much of what I owe to so many others. It is kind of like a tiny revolution happening all over.Contact Terry at firstname.lastname@example.org
I took off the cupboard doors and opened these off for marvelous junk. They are grouped by categories the children created and stored in baskets. Paper is on the bottom shelf.
I have included a mirrored surface here to be used for 3 D art work when needed. Now it houses our spinning ball water fall and scarecrow provocation.
This shelving matches the shelf unit on the other side that is also filled with junk materials that are set on a mirrored surface. There are some drawers in that shelf unit.
These mailboxes are part of the message centre. I would probably not use the balloons but they were given to me. The shelf has drawers that hold stamps scissors, tape, glue, etc. We also have reading binders on these shelves.
In the foreground of the photo you can see the Sunflower Seed Farm Area where children can explore and contrast this thinking with the Building of Cities work going on in the block corner.
I put the leaf prints on this table that are very subtle. All the pens and utensils are kept in the metal cups, and the crayons are kept on shelf. My intention is to show these utensils grouped by colours.
The box is full of coloured pencils that are also grouped by colours and it is portable. It is kept by the art table.
The magnetic board is our word board for the message centre and the alphabet is put up with stops (stickers) as in the alphabet song. This phrasing makes it easier for the children to sing the song and find the letters.
I made the sink using Ikea™ things. The table has the shapes painted on it for a surprise. The rug makes it comfortable.
The unit in front now holds dishes in it and can be reversed to serve as a store when needed. The box can be added to a store, or whatever they create, at a later time.