Saturday, August 30, 2014

Connecting with Compassion: Classroom Edition

Who knew how much work went into preparing a classroom for 10 sweet, yet messy 3 year olds?!?!

Here's just some pointers I learned as I prepare to be a first year pre-school teacher: 

Always take a photo of the room before, so you feel accomplished when you see how much cleaner and more organized everything is! 

Have a place to quickly and neatly display art work. On the first day, it serves as a Welcome sign, but it is soon to be filled with wonderful works of art. Burlap is the background (Fabric can work as well). I thought it was modern, and I can change the border later if I choose, without having to mess with butcher paper. Only other thing I needed was rope and clothes pins for the final touch.

Every parent wants their child to feel special. In our classroom, every two weeks or so we will have an "Owl Star." That means he or she can bring in photos of themselves and their family. We will display them in the classroom and the "spotlight" will be on them! 

Keep as much as you can at the kiddos' eye level. I had one of my children come model height for me so that I can make sure my calendar, weather wheel, and a variety of other things were in their reach. Another idea is to walk around your classroom or playroom on your knees. This shows you what your kiddos can see. Because I have to share my classroom sometimes, I did have to keep a good bit above their eye level. 

Create a positive environment. These are my "Can Statements." 
I can:
... use my inside voice
... treat others with respect safely responsible
...share our class materials
...make good choices
...follow directions

Can the children read these? No... Can I utilize these in my everyday teaching, encouragement, conversation, and discipline? YES!

I took photos (my own photos) of every type of toy and printed them in wallet size. I then laminated the photos before taping them to the shelf. (By the way, if you print extra wallet photos and laminate them, you can use them as a matching game!)
 There is a photo on the bins and another on the toy shelf. My goal is the kiddos will learn early on that everything has a "home." 

Learn to love the Dollar Tree and your old craft stash you haven't touched in years! (Oh yeah, don't forget that hot glue gun!)
These first day goodies cost me a total of $10 plus tax. I got the light up bouncy balls from the Dollar Tree and had the rest already! The tag says, "Thanks for Bouncing by!" 
The picture to the right is my table for open house. I displayed some books I bought new for the classroom as well as our classroom pet, Oliver!

There is just something about pre-school and a class pet that goes together. Meet Oliver- the Owl. He will get to go home with a kiddo each weekend. Oliver comes with his own book bag filled with his favorite book and photo journal. 

Last but not least, I had to make sure I had a little touch of child life and the hospital in my classroom. 
I can't wait to use my Child Life knowledge to teach, assess, and love on these kids! 

What do you think? What other tips do you have for me to use in my classroom?