As I planned the new kindergarten environment I revisited my journals from my work study in Italy last spring with a focus on flow and environment. The flow is threefold; visual, physical and scheduling. I especially wanted the environment to reflect the children's learning and interests paying close attention to creativity and the different ways that children express themselves. This required reimagining space to display the large collection of loose parts, providing lots of space for the children as well as independent access to all resources most especially loose parts.

While I unpacked, sorted and arranged materials in the new kindergarten room, I chose to take my time, resisting the impulse to have everything done before the children arrived. We piled boxes in one corner and began to find homes which were a good fit for resources -- paying close attention to the space around each area so that children could move materials, spread out and work together.

Our new room has shelving on top of shelving which seemed very busy and full. I had planned to remove the upper shelves once the music teacher's instruments were relocated but as soon as I saw the empty shelves I knew that they would be a perfect place to display our nature resources, books and math manipulatives. The wood provides a warmth to the space and showcases the nests, shells, bark and other science objects.

I spent about two hours unpacking the science, math and literacy resources and moving them around until the display was symmetrical and balanced. I compared the colours, size and shapes of the baskets. I created themed displays which complement our place based learning projects such as forest, birds and seashore. Now I can easily imagine rotating the displays to the science table throughout the year. 

I keep falling in love with each part of the room as it is established and used by the children in their learning and play. Up next, our art studio.





The day before school began I moved into a different classroom in our school. The original kindergarten room had been re-configured back into a classroom. The construction was finished and most of the furniture and the previous teachers resources (although the cupboards are full of beautiful music instruments while she waits for storage to arrive in her new room) were moved in the morning and I went in with my crew to set up for Tuesday. We are still waiting for finishing work and storage but it is beautiful!!!



While we wait for block shelving I needed to find a temporary storage solution for some of the loose parts. Voila! I found an old shelf in a storage room and repurposed some baskets. The children set to work the first day doubling the construction space we had in our last room.


Wow! The loose part play is amazing. They are working side by side to create towers, museums, shops and a zoo! 



Summer is coming to an end and school is just around the corner. I have already visited the school and the kindergarten room is ready for your children. Making the transition to school is easier if you spend some time in the weeks before establishing some important routines. I suggest that families work together to prepare for a smooth transition. Here are some suggestions you might find useful:

Preparing for new schedules:
  • move bedtime a little earlier each night 
  • wake up earlier in the morning
  • adjust your meal schedules i.e.: snack and lunch to school times
  • get dressed before or after breakfast
  • plan some morning activities to get you up and out of the house
  • plan a visit to the school playground

Take time to organize for school:

  • have your child practice packing a lunch and later eat their lunch - this will ensure that your child can open and close all of the containers
  • have your child practice packing and unpacking the backpack
  • designate a spot where you will put backpacks, lunch boxes, back and forth folders, library books and school papers

Build independent habits with your child:

  • have your child take off and put on his/her shoes 
  • dressing including zipping up jackets
  • helping out doing small chores like emptying the dryer or setting the table and tidying up after themselves
I hope that these suggestions help to make your school transition a little easier. Enjoy the final weeks of summer with your family.
Liz


Each marker colour represents a different day that the children added new information to the Thinking Chart.





The children had their final plant lesson with Mrs. Boulton on Tuesday afternoon. In our classroom we had a few activities going on to support their plant study. While reading lots about plants, comparing seeds, seedlings and mature plants, and some art/science activities. Some favourites were the pollination activity (using cheeses and bee finger puppets), celery water experiment, Eric Carle author study and flower measuring. 

When we visited Milner Gardens Pam supported the study by doing a lesson on pollination and looking at pond plants. We also completed a Circle Thinking Map to track our learning. The final activity was for each child to choose a plant fact and illustrate it for a hallway learning display.

Liz
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