Monday, 20 July 2015

Space (A Shared One)


    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 Masters' research on the seven layers of Inquiry-Based learning. The third layer, and the focus of this post, is space. Other blog posts discuss the other layers that include image of the child, time, materials, listening, documenting and planning.
     A parent once sent me a note saying, “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 talk about my classroom environment.  For a long time I have thought that my classroom should be a reflection of me, and for the most part it has been.  Yet, I've begun to realize, that what I want in the coming year, is a space that is a reflection of the children that live there.
    Over the last couple of years, I have begun to transition from bright primary colors to more neutral, earthy tones.

    Here is a pic of the science center before school started in 2014.
   


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




     While I definitely think the change has been a good one, I haven't always been clear about why I was moving in this direction. In the beginning, it was mostly about the aesthetics. And while that might have been a good enough reason, I've come to learn more. I now realize that a more simple space with a neutral palette allows greater room for the children's work to take center stage. At the same time, limiting commercially-made print and graphics leaves less to compete with children's art work and ideas.  This means the classroom might look pretty plain in September, but it is my hope that by December, it will be clear to anyone who enters who the children are that live there!

    If my classroom does say anything about me at all, it should say that I value children and their thoughts and ideas, not that I like chevron or that I’m into owls (which I am!).  What will your space look like in the coming year and how might it be a reflection of the children?




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