Google+ bakers and astronauts: A New Classroom

18 August 2008

A New Classroom

I am finally sitting in the corner of my new classroom, pondering piles of furniture and manipulatives. This is always an exciting time, but it is also an overwhelming one.

The environment is one of the most important aspects of early education. Children should feel that it is their space, and that it is a safe and welcoming one. Even in higher grades now, gone are the days of individual desks -- many educators now favor the idea of collaboration. This has always been a popular idea in early childhood.

It used to seem straightforward to me: block area, dramatic play, writing, art, science, books. But then I noticed that children were running through dramatic play to get to science, creating chaos and disorganization. Children who wanted to add a sign to a block structure had to walk across the classroom to get the materials, so instead of turning sounds into letters and putting that on paper, they just skipped it. I hope I am getting the point across that, below the neatly arranged surface of a preschool classroom, there is so much more to think about.

I am lucky that I have this entire week (!!!) to arrange my classroom. Today, Monday, I took things down that were left from the last teacher and moved almost everything into the hallway. There is always the opportunity to introduce more things later on on the year; I don't want to overwhelm the students as they transition into the new school year. There are new friends, new adults, new spaces, and for many of these children, a new city with new languages. As I mentioned above, comfort and safety are the main ideas for the beginning of the year.

Perhaps some of you are teachers, getting ready for the beginning of the school year. Maybe you are returning to your classroom; maybe you are prying hologram stickers off of the wall like I am. Either way, best of luck, and I'd be interested to know how it works (or does not work) for you!


  1. oh... i will be in the same place next week... getting our classroom back in order. with montessori... everything has a set place... the sensorial, the practical life, the language, the maths and so on. we're constantly struggling with ways to make the same materials fresh and new for our third years. i do love this time of the year when all the new pencils go in the jars and the new notebooks in their workboxes!
    i can't wait to see photos of your new classroom...
    good luck allie!

  2. I'm doing the same thing this week. Our challenge this year (as was last) is that the students stay in the same place all day. Science, Rhetoric, Math, Social Studies, Latin...all in the same room with different educators through the day. How do you plan for a classroom like that? Difficult. With 5 different ideas of what a room should look like and such a small space it makes it challenging.

    However, that being said, the joy of setting up an office for the first time that is welcoming to students and parents as well as functional for me has been quite the endeavor. One thing that shall always stay are my stars. One for each student I have ever taught with a goal on one side and a signed name on the other to remind me of students past and present. What a shock it was to those who are now in the 11th and 12th grade who had me as a 7th or 8th grade teacher to know that they are now a legacy in their teachers classroom.

    I encourage you to do something like this. I use stars but I know you are creative. Have the students make or do something each year that you in the future keep and put up or keep in a book every year to share. The students love it and I'm sure your little ones will too.

    Enjoy my friend. I miss you tons and can't wait to hear more of your adventures.

    ~ your cousin (who is insanely proud of you!!)


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