A virtual tour of my preschool classroom

The early learning environment is a critical part of success in preschool

I invest more time in the set up and preparation of my learning environment than anything else I do as an early childhood educator. Today, I am pleased to be joining several of my fellow bloggers for a little tour of each of our classrooms. At the end of this post, you will find a link to each of the bloggers who are participating in the Classroom Tour Blog Hop and I sure hope you will take the time to click over and tour their classrooms too.  As you check out each of our classrooms, you will find each of them to be uniquely designed based on our own spaces, experiences, philosophies, supplies, equipment, teaching practices, and even the needs and culture of the student’s we teach. No two classrooms are the exactly the same and that is as it should be.  As you read through my classroom tour today and those of my fellow bloggers, I urge you to not read these posts with a critical mindset as we each see our classroom environments as a continuous work in progress nor as a how-to guide for setting up a classroom as this is not our intention. Our intention is to simply share what works well in our own classrooms in hopes to inspire each other and you as well…

The Indoor Environment

It is kind of complicated to share my learning environment with you in one post but I will at least be able to give you an overall sense of how we are set up. I have three classrooms this year : The indoor classroom, the outdoor classroom, and the dramatic play room. Each room is completely different as they are each designed to offer a different kind of experience. The children begin the first part of their day in our indoor classroom then head outside to the outdoor classroom for the last half of the day. On Thursdays only right now, the children spend time in the dramatic play room but when the weather gets bitterly cold we will begin to spend more time in the dramatic play room…

The Outdoor Classroom

In addition to our three classrooms, we also spend lots of time outside.  Spending time outdoors is a very important part of our overall learning environment as well.  We spend time outdoors doing a broad range of things such as going on a walk in the woods, easel painting, hunting for bugs, collecting sticks and acorns, playing with props I have provided, running as fast as we can through the grass, and the list goes on…

A few details about the indoor classroom

The children begin their day in our indoor classroom. The indoor classroom is located in a lower section of our detached garage on my home property. The room is much smaller than I would like it to be but we make it work for us. As soon as you walk in the door, you will see our large blue carpet. Our blue carpet is used for a variety of activities such as large group meeting times, math time, music time, block play, and sometimes we even spread out to the floor for a planned activity simply because we may need the space for just a bit…

Preparing the Environment

We have three tables and three floor shelves in the classroom. One shelf holds writing and art materials for the children to use freely. The second shelf holds puzzles and other manipulatives for the children to explore freely, and the last shelf holds our blocks and cars and animals and anything else for block type play we may add or rotate through.  We also have two small shelves mounted down low on the wall that holds our collection of books the children like to read.  I have found that when you have a small classroom, it is better to have lots of room for the children to spread out and play than to have lots of stuff and very little room for the children to spread out and play.  I choose carefully what will be in each shelf and then observe the children to see what they seem to enjoy using or ignore or have lost interest in. If the children never use something I have available on a shelf or just seem to be bored with it, then I replace it after awhile with something new to see if that works better for them…

Maximizing the Space

We also use the tops, backs, and sides of our shelves for a variety of purposes such as an extra space to play or work, to hold additional materials we may need for the day, to display our magnetic board, and to hold our clip boards…

Staying Organized

My husband built me a set of cubbies to keep the children’s coats and papers in…

Light Exploration

We also have a light table that we convert into a listening center as needed….

The indoor classroom is what I consider our home base. It is where the children meet in the mornings, keep their personal belongings, and begin their day. I put a lot of time into taking care of the room so that it remains inviting, interesting, decluttered, organized, and fun for the children…

A glimpse at the outdoor classroom

It is getting late here and I need to get some rest before school tomorrow so here is a quick glimpse at our outdoor classroom.  In the outdoor classroom, we have a water table, sand table, tinker table, discovery table, an easel, and a middle table used for play dough or other sensory and creative activities…

Rotating Materials

I change the materials in the outdoor classroom about once a week but we always have the same centers. So I may have cans in the sand table one week but the next week, I will set out buckets or construction tools or some other material in the sand table. The outdoor classroom is A LOT of work to keep clean but the children absolutely love to be out there and it makes all the work very worthwhile…

This school year, we have doubled our enrollment. I went from 12 students ages three to five to 18 students ages three to five. I also added another day to our week so now I have classes Monday through Thursday. It has made blogging regularly quite the challenge (for those of you who follow me regularly, you probably have already noticed that). But I am hoping that I can get back on the ball because I have so many more things I want to share with you. Now be sure to hop on over to see the other classroom tours listed below with a link to each one!

Classroom Tour Blog Hop Environments:
Katie at Preschool Inspirations
Darla at The Preschool Toolbox
Sheryl at Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds
Mary Catherine at Fun-A-Day

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photo credit for Top Photo: YannGarPhoto (Where are the stats??) via photopin cc

Picture of Deborah J Stewart

Deborah J Stewart

Every time I think I know everything I need to know about teaching young children, God says, "Hold on a minute!" and gives me a new challenge.

Let me tell ya...

With each new challenge that you overcome, you will find yourself better equipped and more passionate about teaching young children.

God didn't call wimps to lead, teach, or care for His children. Nope, he has high expectations, so get ready. You will have to give your very best but after teaching for over 30 years, I can tell you that it is a wonderful and rewarding journey.

Whenever your calling feels hard, just remember, 'He who began a good work in you (and in the children you serve) will be faithful to complete it.'

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