Honor their work.

This one comes from my boss.  When I first began here, I would post their pictures on the bulletin board in the hallway.  She told me it looked okay, but it would really be nice to mount it on a piece of construction paper to kind of frame it.  I thought she was crazy to want me to take it all down and put paper behind it, but she explained that children’s art is important, and it should be important enough to us to honor it.  (Again, read The Dot by Peter Reynolds.  The art teacher frames Vashti’s dot in a gold frame!)

Take the time to display their work with some thought.  Don’t knock yourself out, but use a paper cutter to make straight edges.  If you’re using glue, go to the edges and weight it so that it doesn’t dry curly. (I prefer a glue stick.)  For a quick display that is easily changed, take a same-sized piece of construction paper and put it behind the art diagonally.

Your Room

There are many wonderful books out there that talk about room arrangement.  (I’ll list them later.)  Right now I would recommend Creative Curriculum as a great start – they have some drawings of proper room arrangement.

You will need to think about having a Block Area, a Book Area, a Gathering Area, Housekeeping, Art Area, Science Area, Manipulatives, a Writing Center and some spaces that can do double-duty.

Be sure you have room for everything, and if you have to make some areas to double-duty, that’s ok.  Be creative! 

One exercise that we did several years ago was to imagine what your Dream Classroom would be like.  Draw it!  You may not be able to do everything, but maybe you can begin on one thing now.  It’ll get your creative juices flowing!

Color

Steer clear of bright, primary colors if you can.  Our staff had the opportunity to visit several of the schools in St. Louis and Chicago that employ the Reggio Emilia approach, and the warm, homey color scheme is so much more inviting and soothing!  (Hopefully I can post some links to photos of those soon.)

Limit the Posters

I am not a fan of the pre-made cute posters they sell in the teacher store.  If you are just beginning and need them, ok.  But look at them first.  Is it something to help you manage the room?  Map posters are alright, birthday posters are ok, but if it’s just for decoration – hold off.  It will not be a bad thing if your walls are a little bare.  We live in such a chaotic world anyway – don’t overwhelm these children with all that STUFF on the walls.  It’s just  visual static. 

Leave the spaces empty and put up their drawings the first week or two!  Be sure to mount it nicely on a piece of construction paper, first.  Make it look like a piece of fine art  If you haven’t read The Dot by Peter Reynolds, do.  It changed the way I look at children’s art.  It should be REAL, and a dot is more real than a coloring page of a bear.