Google+ bakers and astronauts: compromise

08 September 2011


I have been in this new environment for two weeks, and I have to say that (as always) the kids are growing on me.  It is amazing to me that someone can walk into a room full of four-year-olds anywhere in the world and make connections with them, and their entire job is know them as well as they can.  That's my job.  And getting to know this group is an adventure (in a good way).

I have been getting in early, standing in the middle of the room and in all of the different corners making maps of what we might want to do with the setup of the space.  I'm looking at the materials in the space and moving those materials around.  Regardless of what I now, though, these children have been spending every day of the last 8 months in this room, so they know where things are and what they can find to use.  Even if the materials are not exactly on the top of my list.

I have really had to reflect on materials in the classroom.  In the past, I have had the "luxury" (if you can call it that) of putting certain things away or donating them to the Goodwill, tucking plastic toys in closets and taking out more natural materials.  But here, the teaching dynamic is different.  I'm the new girl.  Is it polite to drag everything out?  No.  And the more time I spend around these materials, the more I notice that we can find some compromise.  The baby dolls, the bottles, the Dora the Explorer books, that car rug - where is there room for the children's imaginations?  We have to find balance.

That said, I have not found that balance with the environment yet.  I put things away, and children take them out.  But I'm also bringing in new things and giving them a range of open-ended choices by simply making things available to them.  And I think it's going well.

On another note, I walk to and from work, and this is what I get to look at.  Hello, Washington!  Love, Oregon.


  1. Such an interesting position to be in and I'm sure you will find your balance this year! Materials have really been on my mind, being at a public school we have lots of materials that I have tucked away in closets, lugging out rocks and twigs instead :) This is the first year that I am starting with all open-ended materials (not a fake plastic fruit in the room) and am wondering how that will turn out for my new group. Have you found the children in your program have any difficulties moving away from materials with form to more formless (open ended) materials and using their imaginations?

  2. I don't think it is a problem for the children, but they often ask "what's that?" - but from my past experience, I think children question and ask for directions at the start, and then get into the routine of using the materials any way they want to. That's what I hope for them to do, and I try not to have any expectations when I present materials.

    Children are used to coloring in coloring books, pretending to drive matchbox cars, and talking on pretend cell phones. Like I said above, there is going to have to be a give and take in our environment because these things are not negative - we just need to add a little more independence and imagination.


Thanks so much for joining the conversation!

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