Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Classroom Environment

This is the second week of a #kinderchat blogging challenge for the summer. Last week the challenge was to tell what you learned from your students, faculty, administration, etc., over the past year that you couldn't have learned from anyone else at any other time. That one was easy! This week's challenge, not so much.

Kinderblog challenge #2: Describe your favourite classroom space.

Seems simple enough. I guess. I was surprised at how I had to think about this one! Perhaps it is because my classroom space is so intertwined with everything else I do it was hard to separate it. But, before I go into my description, I feel I need to give a bit of a history lesson to explain why I am where I am at this particular time in my life.

Up until about 2 years ago, Kindergarten in Prince Edward Island, Canada was "community based". That means that while Kindergarten was fully funded and overseen by the Department of Education and Early Childhood, and we had a standard curriculum, we were not in the schools. We were 1/2 day programs that met in a variety of places. Most were located in child care settings, but many were stand-alone kindergartens and some were located in schools (though not a part of the school).   Then 2 years ago the government moved Kindergarten into the schools and under the School Act and we became a full day kindergarten program in the school system.  

So, up until 2 years ago I taught Kindergarten in a child care centre. We had kindergarten in the morning and multi-age groups in the afternoon.  I team-taught with 3-4 other fabulous teachers in one space. When I moved into the school setting, I moved into my own classroom. It was the first time I had the responsibility to set up a learning environment on my own. At first it was a little overwhelming, and I wasn't sure if I would get it done in time, but it all came together.  What I learned from that first year is that nothing is static. If it doesn't work, move it, change it, make it work. 

What I love best about my space is its openness. I have plenty of room to move things around if they don't quite work the way we intended.  For instance, for part of the year the blocks were at one end and the classroom library was at the other. That wasn't working for us, so we moved them around. I think that is what is most important when we are building our environment, remembering that it can't be the "third teacher" if it isn't working well. 

As I begin to think about the new class to come in in September I wonder. What if I only have the bare bones of the class set up? What if we let our classroom community dictate how we will use our space? How would it look? That excites me too. Knowing that my students can have some say in our space. Here are some pictures from my room this past year.  

We use the pails to put our daily work in, as well as any belongings we might need.

This is the view of the room from a doorway. Lots of great space that can be manipulated and moved when we might need to!

This is my room by the doorway. I love to use the stairs as a group meeting place. Then we can all see and there is room for everyone.

If you're interested, you can go over to my learning portfolio and see more about my classroom environment:

And here is a view of my science centre from last year:


  1. What a huge room! Love the space. The lights hanging from the ceiling are awesome. (Those are lights, right?)And what a great way to incorporate what could be a difficulty into possibility--the stairs! Brilliant.

  2. Thanks! At first I thought the room was small, but then I began to "live" in it and realized how big it was! Those aren't lights, they are leaves hanging down. I have leaves hanging until December, then snowflakes until March, then I hang flowers. That is as "seasonal" for decorating that I get. I am not a holiday decorator. This past year was the first time I used the stairs for group meeting. I can't imagine NOT using them anymore, they worked out so well. Thanks for your comments!

  3. Enjoyed reading your post Carrie! And LOVE the meeting stairs!!