As educators begin to prepare our minds and bodies for back to school, we wonder what we need, what we should collect, and how we will "setup" our classrooms. I preferto use the term "design" in place of setup. To design your learning environment, design takes it consideration that it will indeed change and will transform and grow with the students' interests. As an event stylist, when designing events, the design is the whole story, the whole picture. To setup means piecing it together from your visionary concept (that I will create with the students).
Be sure to come back later in August and read my blog about September: Designing Learning Spaces for Early Years Learners. Get a look into this year's ATELIER. I will surely be in a smaller classroom, I will need to get creative and learn more about the needs of our students as time passes. I will embrace the September white walls and keep the room clean, neutral, and simple. I do look forward to finding a space for the start of our learning Reggio Learning Web ( see my post on how to create an ongoing inquiry based learning web for your classroom wall). I look forward to how our students will reflect their character into the learning environment.
For now, begin to gather loose parts and beautiful stuff. Think about collecting open ended natural materials and create tinker trays. *Here is a tip- visiting thrift stores will get you many beautiful fancy tinker trays, baskets, and loose parts. Sometimes (on Fridays mostly) they offer 50 percent off! This is a great way to double up on your resources. Be sure to ensure all materials are clean, peanut-nut free, and safe of sharp edges. I suggest, as you get to know your students, you will better understand the safety needs and requirements. For now, keep it simple.
Loose Parts & Tinker Parts - Additions to your Loose Part Buffet & Atelier Spaces
4. rocks and pebbles
6. shiny loose parts
8. boxes of all sizes
9. recycled clean containers
16. plants (herbs)
17. fancy trays
18. clear jars (Mason Jars with lids)
19. bottle caps
20. paper towel rolls
21. tissue paper
22. bingo blotters
26. greener (flowers, faux leaves, sunflowers, grass like mats)
27. frames of all sizes (remove center glass)
28. summer road maps
29. nature magazines ( tourist brochures)
31. mirrors ( for plastic visit IKEA )
This list is endless - use your resources and people who may be able to offer specific materials of use as a donation.
I will be presenting at the 2016 RFTLO Conference. My session will be entitled Just Let Me Play: Tinkering for the Fun and Fancy.
My session will explore classroom design, creating a classroom atelier, sparking inquiry, and planning for purposeful provocations. We will discuss how to ensure FDK students meet curriculum expectations while engaging in a full and engaging play-based learning program.