Creating Inquiry Spaces
I have a passion for creating spaces for learning within our FDK classroom. This is my 20th year as a teacher within the early years and I am still as excited today as I was in 1995 when I graduated from teachers college. This experience has deepened my understanding of how important the classroom environment is as it supports the children's explorations. When we began our FDK journey three years ago I submersed myself in learning all I could about inquiry and play based learning as well as the Reggio Emilia approach to early years education. While I feel that I still have so much more to learn I am excited daily about what I have come to know and look forward to continuing my journey as a Reggio inspired educator. I thought I would share with you some of the learning spaces within our FDK classroom. Each item included in these learning spaces was choosen and carefully placed to assist the children as they explore their ideas and demonstrate their thinking in many ways. I love this quote from Loris Malaguzzi the founder of the Reggio Emilia educational philosophy. I feel that it describes how the classroom environment supports our early years program perfectly.
"The wider the range of POSSIBILITIES
we offer children, the more INTENSE will be
their MOTIVATIONS and the richer
This blog is named after my love of creating opportunties through the classroom environment to engage children in exploring their ideas and interests. I hope you enjoy taking a look at our classroom. We will celebrate all the "possibilities" this year will bring on the blog and thank you for sharing in our journey.
I included this mini clalk board on my desk with colourful chalk to write inspiring quotes on. Behind is my DIY Ikea vase which will hold some beautiful blooms. Just because I love flowers.
The math shelf holds a variety of materials that the children can explore as they develop their mathematical thinking. The puzzles are inlcuded here as well. The provocations at the little table and on top of the shelf will change during the year as the children build on their existing knowledge and are encouraged to explore new concepts. Engaging literacy texts are included in our learning spaces to support not only developing literacy skills but also to reinforce concepts that the children are exploring.
I was so happy with how these number stones turned out after creating them this summer. I used Sharpie paint pens that are oil based and sealed them with Mod Podge.
A simple invitation to explore numbers and colourful glass stones. Presenting materials in a beautiful way gives them importance. Teaching the children to respect the materials in the room is one of our first lessons as they explore the classroom environment.
These blocks were hand decorated by the children last year as part of our Architecture Inquiry. They are so beautiful and remain as part of the materials offered on the math shelf.
The writing centre is located by the word wall. In time we will have the children recreate the alphabet giving them the opportunity to help create the classroom environment as well.
The materials at the writing centre focus on exploring lines and preprinting skills. Offering pencils with decorative tops and paper with a border we hope to draw to the children's attention to these materials to encourage writing. This centre also has mini ABC books and alphabet manipulatives.
An invitiation to create your name using alphabet stones was set up at the table in the writing centre. Also included were the children's photos and names on a craft stick to encourage the children to get to know each other as we begin this school year. After the children build their name it is being documented through a photo and will be included in a wooden box as part of our writing centre materials. The children will develop letter identification and sounds as they explore each others names in a meaningful way.
Sensory bins are an important part of our inquiry and play based learning enviroment. This invitation uses mixed beans and loose parts to encourage open exploration and fine motor development.
The light panel is one of my favourite spaces in the classroom. I am always amazed at how the children use the materials presented to represent their thinking.
The peace table helps support self regulation with the children within our classroom.
The inquiry table changes with the children's interests throughout the school year. The text "Stick and Stone" is here with a tray of stones and vase of sticks to begin this year. We wonder what the children will explore this school year?
We are so fortunate to have a large space to create a learning environment in for the children. Here is a look at our other learning spaces.
The art studio inspires to give the children creative freedom to express their imaginations and explore a variety of materials.
We can not wait to see what our learning enviroment inspires this year. The children have been busy exploring and we are carefully observing and supporting them in these initial investigations of our classroom environment. I look forward to sharing with you their interests and ideas as they make their mark within the classroom. The classroom environment is not static. It is a living and breathing extension of the children as they inform us of their needs and aspirations. The classroom will reflect their ideas as we begin to document their work here in our inquiry and play based environment. Certainly this year is full of many "possibilities".