My classroom environment last year I would describe as: relaxed, orderly, responsive, enticing and beautiful. My provocations were perfect. Even during play, I would run around and tidy up provocations as they were used. Children were expected to clean up their things before moving on to another area. We had a center-board, that helped keep the room organized and never chaotic.
My goals last year were largely centered around the environment. If you were to ask me my favorite part of my classroom I would say the environment. This year, if you were to ask, I would say the kids.
I have been struggling to blog as much as I did before primarily because I have less photos to use. Not because I am taking less photos – I still take on average 200-300 a week. But the subject of the photos are the children – not the environment, the provocations or the materials. I will go to blog something that happened that week and will find I have no photos I can use as they all contain children’s faces.
Their happy, smiling, laughing, engaged, excited, lively faces.
Don’t get me wrong, I would still say my room is aesthetically pleasing and very often beautiful.
I would say there is more: color, nooks and crannies, hidden treasures, life and personality.
The room has become beautiful because it represents the children in our room, their interests, their personalities, their temperaments. I could tell you which part of the room each child prefers, and what they add to that area. I could also tell you what parts of the room represent each teacher. From the Christmas lights, to the potted plants to the jars of water color and puppets hanging from the ceiling – every part of our room is a piece of someone in our classroom.
Beauty is an interesting thing, especially when it comes to our third teacher – the environment. Last year I would have told you my current classroom is cluttered, maybe even a bit chaotic. My lens though has now shifted from the agenda of an adult to the agenda of a facilitator.
Before, I would have noticed the containers I used, the amount of natural materials, the way a provocation is set up, and the frames and quotes around the room.
This year, I notice the children – their artwork, their buildings, their home toys and treasures they found walking to school or on the playground tucked in the dress up clothes or in baskets or bags. I hear their voices, I bask in the sound of their laughter, and I enjoy being with them.
And that is beautiful.