Our room is a narrow rectangular space that is organized into centers. In the middle of our classroom we have a larger rug area used for meetings and group lessons. Our materials are easily accessible in order to foster independence and initiative. The children are responsible for maintaining and decorating the classroom. On the first day of school the bare walls and boards have "under construction" signs while awaiting the children's creative contributions. One glance at our classroom shows that it belongs to the students.
One of our main goals is to instill a sense of community. At the start of the day the children check in and then respond to an interactive part of our morning message. Meetings and discussions on our rug area take place throughout the day. These times encourage respect and acceptance and give the children the opportunity to exchange ideas and solve problems. Most of our Centers facilitate small or larger collaborative projects. We have free choice time twice a day during which the children can freely interact with each other and develop their social skills. We have various shares throughout the year in order to learn more about each other. As a team of teachers we model how to discuss and resolve issues, negotiate, compromise, and support each other in our teaching.
We believe that creating a community is essential for achieving our ultimate goal of fostering the love of learning. We use our enthusiasm to create an exciting and spontaneous environment. Our curriculum is child-centered and inspired by real life experiences and events. We incorporate the children's and our own passions as much as we can. We share our weaknesses and mistakes to create a flexible and accepting environment. We reveal our own fears and challenges to model risk-taking and confidence. We use our sense of community to help everyone in the group be responsible for creating an environment where we all feel safe to explore and discover.By the end of the year we want our students to feel that the power lays within, that there is always room for growth, and that mistakes are part of learning, and most of all that learning is fun and empowering!