Reggio-Inspired Kindergarten: Classroom Learning Space

Monday, 20 July 2015

Summer learning included a week long stay in Ontario, Canada where I attended the Transform Ed Workshop Series, given by Joanne Babalis.  There she shared her experiences with a Reggio-Inspired Approach to learning and her Masters' research on the seven layers of Inquiry-Based learning.

The third layer, and the focus of this post, is creating a space for learning. Other blog posts discuss the other layers that include image of the childtimematerialslisteningdocumenting and planning.

What My Kindergarten Classroom Says About Me

A parent once sent me a note that read, “Just as a home is a reflection of the people that live there, a classroom is a reflection of the teacher,” and she went on to compliment me on my classroom environment.

At that time, I thought that my classroom should be a reflection of me, and I decorated it with the things that I love.

Yet, recently, I've begun to realize, that my learning space should really be a reflection of the children that live there.

What I want my classroom to say about me now, is that I value children and their thoughts and ideas, not that I like chevron or that I’m into owls (which I am!).

The Kindergarten Classroom Transformation 

Over the last couple of years, this change in mindset has led me to transition from bright primary colors to more neutral, earthy tones.

Here is a pic of the science center before school started in 2014.
   
creating-a-natural-learning-environment


Here is the same space a year earlier (yikes!).


creating-a-more-natural-learning-environment

While I definitely think this change has been a good one, I wasn't always clear about my purpose for "redecorating."

In the beginning, it was mostly about the aesthetics and trying to copy beautiful classrooms I saw on Pinterest.

But now, my intentions go deeper. I strive to create a simpler space, with a neutral palette, that will make room for children's work and allow it to take center stage.

Commercially-made print and graphics are kept to a miniumu, leaving less to compete with children's art work and ideas.

This means the classroom might look pretty plain in September, but by December, it will be clear to anyone who enters who the children are that live and work there!

Your Classroom Learning Space

As you get ready to prepare for a new year, first think about what you believe about children.  Then, think about what this means for your classroom set up and wall decor.

Involving children in the process of cocreating the space by working with them to design anchor charts or arrange furniture gives them ownership and creates a more meaningful learning space. 

Leaving your classroom "undecorated," might not sound very appealing, but it does simplify the back-to-school set up process, leaving more time for other school year start-up tasks.

What will your learning space look like this year?

Thanks for stopping by!

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