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Our Room: An Environment Created for Investigating

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I have worked very hard to create an environment that  beckons kids to explore.  I love the Reggio Emilia philosophy of the environment being the third teacher.   Here is a little tour of our room.
Our Listening Station

Our Meeting Area
From the back by the cubbies
From the front of the room looking back 
In my effort to create a calming environment for all of us, I took down anything that was commercially made and replaced it with things made by the children.  No more "store bought" alphabet or anchor charts.  I have found that the kids make things that are much more pleasing to the eye than anything I could buy!  It also gives them ownership of their environment and pride in using something they had a part in making!  Here are some examples:
Our Color Chart
The Letters for our Word Wall
Our Class Rules
Our Number Line
Tools for kids to refer to when writing and reading.
I also use items from nature and loose parts for art, science and math.  Again, things like pine cones, buckeyes, sweet gum balls, acorns, rocks, pebbles, etc. are fun for the kids to use and they are free!!  The kids can measure or weigh things with buckeyes just as easily as anything I could buy at the teacher store.
Natural Materials at the Building Area (Paper blocks have been replaced by wood blocks).
Small Sample of our Loose Parts Collection
We use art a lot in our projects, for fun, and to document our learning.  Tempra paint, water colors, oil pastels, collage, clay and many other mediums are used in our art studio!
Part of our Art Studio- Lots of important work goes on here!
This is our sand table.  I have a lot of natural materials such as shells, rocks and pebbles, but not as much sand as I would like.  The kids have not complained though and are enjoying it as is!  I put an old balance scale underneath for them to explore weight using the sand and natural items.

Documentation of the children's learning can be found all over our room!  This gives the kids a chance to reflect and remember past inquiries!
Documentation of patterns we found in our shell collection.
Documentation on a project celebrating our differences
Music Inquiry Documentation

Our Exploration table sometimes explores, science, sometimes explores art, and sometimes explores both at the same time!
Exploration Table
Here are our exploration shelves.  We keep tools that we may use for exploration (Microscope, Magnifying glasses) and materials to explore.

This is our Math Area.  I would love to replace the trays with more natural materials.  Someday!

Math Stations
This is our Writing Area.  It holds anything we may need to write and make books such as writing paper, construction paper for covers, scrap paper, colored pencils, markers, crayons, scissors and glue.  Sometimes this becomes an art area also.
Writing paper and materials for making books
Any art that decorates our room is also made by the kids!  Here are some samples:

Working together to create art.  They named these Fall Nature and Friendship
Creating beauty while strengthening our fine motor skills
I hope you enjoyed this little tour of our room! 

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