(Seekers & Wonderers)
(3 by September 1)
Our classroom environment is constantly evolving to fit the students in the class. It is something both the teachers and the children collaborate on, and it changes as their interests and needs evolve. The layout and materials change to provide new opportunities, build off of the children’s interests, and keep the children engaged in their learning. The classroom will continuously reflect new themes we notice throughout the classroom. The areas of the classroom will often become new things such as our solar system, superhero headquarters, houses, rivers, and so forth. The environment is a crucial part of learning. As teachers, we will be constantly reflecting on the use of the space and everything in the classroom will be done with intention. The classroom space will be divided into areas of interest.
Our curriculum is created by using the Reggio-Emilia approach of emergent curriculum. We use a play-based philosophy in which we provide new materials and challenges based on the themes of interest we see throughout the classroom. The teachers are researchers. Our job is to be engaged in the children’s play and find common threads in their play to spark curriculum ideas which challenge, question, and support their learning. Our goal is to provide a space where the children feel their ideas are honored and represented in a way that allows them to learn through their play. Through play we practice negotiation and teamwork skills. We explore numbers, quantities, shapes, letters, sounds, language and colors. We expand our vocabulary, practice inquiry skills and expressing feelings. Every material and interaction is intentional to support the child as a whole learner and prepares them to be a functioning member of society. For more information on the Reggio-Emilia Approach, please ask the teachers or the director.
Our Seekers and Wonderers have three expectations or “rules”. In our classroom, we strive to take care of ourselves, take care of each other and take care of our school. These three expectations cover all other rules and leave no room for grey areas for children to test. It covers being kind to each other and not hurting (physically or emotionally) and offering a hand to someone who may need it. It also covers being responsible for taking care of your own needs and keeping yourself safe, such as walking in the classroom. Taking care of our school guides us to clean up our materials and space and use them appropriately. We believe that having a list of rules or things they “can’t” do provides opportunities for them to test out the rules and to look for other ways to get the same results such as if a rule was not to hit, they may kick or pinch. We focus on what we can do rather than what we can’t. We can help a friend clean up, we can walk or dance and we can throw balls at the ball toss. We don’t focus on what we can’t do because this doesn’t provide children with an appropriate picture of what they can do which gives them the opportunity to test everything out until they know what they can do. If we focus on what they can do, then they know from the beginning what their options are and will be more successful in choosing an appropriate response or action. In our classroom, we strive to be a true members of our classroom community. We not only follows the expectations of the preschool room but act as a leader in modeling and helping peers become successful proud students in our classroom.
We also have a strong belief that children make mistakes and that’s okay. We talk openly with our class about how it is okay to make a mistake but what is important is that we fix our mistake, no matter what it is. If we hurt someone, we need to check-in and figure out how we can help them. If we spill milk, we clean it up and we don’t make a big deal about it. If someone breaks a toy, we don’t ask who did it but open it to the class on how we can fix it. As a class, we often help each other brainstorm ways to fix our mistakes and sometimes even help out. We strive to have an environment where the children and teachers respect each other and our space and we give them as much responsibility as they are ready for. The children in our class are at various stages of development and we work with them to achieve our goals and expectations and it will take time to get there. We love being a part of the journey while they work towards becoming a successful member of our community and our society.