Thursday, August 31, 2017

let them mix paint!

classroom tour 2017

As I mentioned before, every year we tweak our learning spaces based on what we have learned the previous year. I work in a shared room so have to plan and organized with my teaching partner. While we have very different aesthetics that make us happy, our respect and joy for each other has us working as a team in our classroo mand play yard design.
Last year we had the dramatic play set up in the center of the classroom. This year, my co-teacher picked up a loveseat so we had to rethnk where things woudl go and how best they would fit. This usally means we move the furniture around, a lot. Even after we figure out what we like, we may change it later in the year if the children do not seem to respond to the space as intended. This is the view from our art corner looking out to the rest of the room. To the left of the photo is our building area, with the dramatic play in the back corner. The reading area is both the sofa and behind it, with our group time spent on the rug in front of the sofa.

We picked up a grey cover for the loveseat to keep it on the fairly clean side because...preschoolers. For our group area, I had a vision of using the single Kallax shelves from Ikea as a bench and grounding point for the area. The bins holding building materials such as magnatiles, mobilos, and city blocks. The bulletin board is empty but will be filled weekly with work from the children. We have a large white board on the wall to the right of the area, and a felt board propped up on the shelf.

The large Kallax shelf divides the group area from the dramatic play area. The backside houses our play kitchen and new-to-us repurposed entertainment center. It gets dark back there so we added a lamp for light and a measure of hominess.  The last photo shows the view of the room from the group area. The blocks and building area is on the left. We will be adding photobooks of the children to the rim of the bulletine board once school begins. The back wall is where the art area is.
We carved out a small science and inquiry area near our back door, under a part of our window wall. The green mat is also an Ikea find and the children take it out and use it on the large gray rug in the group area.
This is the view from the far corner of our group area. I love the large windows in our room. Every year, we add items to a wish list and then we make purchases based on our budget. We don't get everything and I spend a lot of my own money on items for the room as I love making it a joyful place of learning. Every year it just gets better and better. I love how much it has changed since my first year and each year after. Click to see previous room tours...2014, 2015, 2016.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

a new school year, a newly organized play yard

Every year we tweak our indoor and outdoor spaces. The more we use them, the more we figure out how the children use each space. Last year we updated our sandbox and while it was super cool, we found the children needed a space to work. Enter the new mud kitchen shelf made by the mister!
For now we have the crates under it to store all the sandbox toys. I went through them and puleld out broken bits and items that the children generally do not gravitate to but I think there are still too many things. We'll see.
The planter boxes were made locally. We have rocks in one and potting sil in the other. I love how the  mirror opens up the space. The window box on the table will soon hold herbs and flowers. When it gets super hot we pippi up our space by cobbling together a shade using sheets and clothespins. I love the fort feel of it! It's really tricky trying to find other preschool play yards so I hope that by sharing, I will encourage others to do so as well. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

art supply storage, a work in progress

We have open shelves in the classroom that we use to store the art supplies we use most often. Paint, glue, paper, paint cups, etc. are all housed here.
For the past few years we have been using these decorative plastic bins I foudn at various dollar style stores. While handy, they are visual clutter with all the different colors. We have greem pink, orange, blue...yikes!
For our work day, I picked upa couple cans of grey spray paint to pant the bins so they would all be the same color. While it's not my dream storage, it will do for now.
Not too bad. I want to switch out the fabric bins for all grey, we use them to store the children's rest items. My dream to switch out all the plastic for wicker and rattan baskets. It might get spendy, but I think I am going to start looking for some. Can you imagine how pretty it would be?