This year I will be moving classrooms and divisions. Teaching a grade 5/6 class at the other end of school from the Kindergarten section will be a big change for me and also for my students. I am sure they will be looking for glimpses of the “Kindergarten Teacher” that they saw in the halls last year. So I am planning to bring some of what I have learned as a Kindergarten teacher to my new students in grade 5/6. Statistics show that over 90% of children in Kindergarten enjoy school. This number dramatically decreases as children reach the junior and intermediate grades. I want the children in my class to be engaged in their learning and enjoy coming to school.
When starting the new school year I always look through the practical information provided in “The Heart and Art of Teaching and Learning,” to find suggestions on setting up the classroom or planning for building inclusion. On page 22, in a section on Environment, it refers to the Reggio Emilia approach, which considers the children’s development and relationships with their environment. The chapter continues with, “Not only should the classroom represent your beliefs and values about teaching, it should also support them. In order to make the classroom engaging and inviting, consider what you want students to feel when they come in and how you might communicate this in a non-verbal way.”
I always find the environment a good place to start when planning for a new group of students. The layout, the materials, even the lighting can affect how the students interact with the resources and with each other. My goal this year is to have a classroom that is comfortable and aesthetically inviting, yet organized to foster responsibility and independence. I want to encourage collaboration and provide areas for movement within the classroom that focus on particular interests such as reading, art, science & technology, and math.