Monday, January 23, 2012

My classroom- Big ideas in a small space

I love centers in my K4 preschool classroom, and think the MORE centers the more benefits children can have.  My challenge is small space, and I'm constantly working on ways I can better utilize the space I have.  So as of the moment this is what I have come up with.
 Book Center
I really wanted a quiet spot for the kids to have an opportunity to be alone if needed and a place to relax.  Having the book stand butted up to my desk creating a wall (I put our writing center book shelf on the opposite side for support to help either from flipping over) created a little reading nook.  With a stuffed animal and few pillows and couple child size seats my book center has become more welcoming and I've noticed the kids are more likely to freely go over there on their own.  Most go there to retreat away from the larger group and end up laying down flipping through books.  I hope to add a couple larger floor pillows.  I use a small plastic container between the two chairs to hold the books that go along with the months themes.  Books places on the bookshelf contain a wide variety of various types of books.  Though I may change this since I've noticed the kids tend to gravitate more to books we have read or go a long with what they are learning about.

Cubbies/ Parent Information Board

Above our cubbies is my parent information board.  Each month a monthly calendar goes home listing each week's theme, letter number shape color and sight words for the week, Cooking activities, special happenings, and craft projects, as well as, any closings, music classes and chapel meetings.  This same calendar is located on my Classroom News wall in 2 forms the same one sent home and then one the large dry erase calendar.  Each week I send home a weekly newsletter, this newsletter is more detailed about what we will be doing that week, any changes that contradicts what was on the monthly calendar, upcoming important dates, reminders or other news that has came up after the calendar was sent home or simply just unable to fit on it.  Plus our weekly Bible memory verse for the children to work on at home.  This newsletter will also be placed on the wall (normally wear the bare green paper it).  Also included on our Classroom news wall is our lunch menu, poems I find inspiring to early childhood development, programs parents may find helpful for their children, programs/events going on in the church, or other related articles and whatnot's I find that parents maybe interested in.   Along with what is posted on the wall and what is sent up, Any really important reminders or notes is written on the small dry erase board that is held up by the large clothes pin.  This sits right next to our sign in/out sheet to I know everyone will see it.
 Discovery Center

This is one of several of my centers I really wish I had room to expand!!  The kids really enjoy exploring their world around them with the different tools from magnets to binocolors to color paddels.  I also enjoy adding things I find from nature for them to explore.  Currently we have a plant, a turtle shell and a bird's nest out.

 Weather Center
 Our weather center is one of the kids favorites, They LOVES when it's their turn in our classroom jobs to be the metorologist.  Where get to step out our back door to figure out what the weather and temprature is, mark it on our display and annouce it to all their friends during large group.  I'm hoping to add some tools right outside our classroom to include a themometer, rain gauge and a wind shock.  But more on that later down the road.

Sensory Table (AKA Sand and water table)
I refer to my sand and water center as our Sesory table since rarely is there ever sand or water in it!!  I enjoy changing out it's contents to keep the kids engaged.  I plan to do a post in the near future of great mediums to use in your sensory table.

Art Center

One of my favorite centers and I LOVE keeping it stocked with a varity different items the children get to choose from.  The draw backs to my art center through is my limited non-carpeted area and the lack of NO sink in our classroom, our nearest restroom in down the hall.  But we learn to adapt and make it work (Baby whipes help clean up enough to safely send children down the hall to wash their hands properly).

Dramatic Play Center
This is one of the top two favorite centers amongst my class, and it stays busy!!  I'm working to add several prop boxes to change out every once in while to add to the kids imganiation and play.  Keep an eye out for these!

View of my classroom from farthest front left corner to the opposite back right corner
This is overlooking our two tables we use to do our classwork, the dramatic play center, the block center and the computer center

From the back left corner to the front left corner
Again over looking our work tables, large group center, block center, my desk and work area, writing center, computer center and manipulatives center.

 Large Group Center
This is where our class meets as an entire group (lucky with only 10 on roll we have just enough space)

View of the left side the classroom

Block Center
I would like to add to this center with a varity of building mediums and props.

Math & Manipulatives Center
Yet another center I would like to expand and still searching of options and ideas, as of know the kids love making patterns, sorting and putting puzzles together.

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