Sunday, 31 July 2016

Professional Development of the Third Teacher. 1.

This is the very first post I will share of the journey our third teacher will make this year.

For a while now we have been thinking about the idea of taking everything away and just letting the children play with their imaginations… well now we have decided to do that… but we are not taking EVERYTHING away, but we are leaving a great deal more space for the children's imaginations.

What will be left are blocks, stones, sticks, fabrics, books and materials in the art studio…

The idea is that we will add on to what we offer slowly… and each time we add something to the shelves it is considered…

I read a lot of posts about the third teacher… and the beauty of how we present the third teacher is often discussed…

I believe in the 100 languages of children… which means we as teachers have a hundred languages, and  a hundred ways to listen… BUT this must also mean the environment has a hundred languages too… and beauty is ONLY ONE of them.

Over the years I also think beauty is not something we can just use as a description for how a setting should look… as we all have our different perception of what is beautiful… from place to place, culture to culture, from childhood to adulthood… I know my sense of what is beautiful is quite different now than what it was as a child… and yet we tend to set up preschools from an adult sense of beautiful…

What I wish for my Third Teacher this year is develop the other languages (not abandon beauty… I don't want to lose languages, only gain them)… I want the Third Teacher to say welcome, to say explore, to say play, to say feel included etc…
The problem is that is an environment can say these things they can also say not welcome, don't explore, don't play, feel excluded… and I need to find out what my Third teacher needs for professional development to use the right languages… for a diverse, inclusive environment where there are equal opportunities for EVERYONE.

So we will be examining materials we will bring into the environment to see if they are inclusive… that boys and girls feel included, that all races, cultures, languages, religions etc etc feel included and valued.

So after a week of stripping our preschool down to the minimum… this is how it looks…

the art studio. Images have been taken from an adult height as well as a child height, to be able to evaluate the difference… we need to be able to see the rooms through the eyes of the child.

The BLUE ROOM… our rooms are given colour names so that we can change the purpose of the room without confusion. Children will still know where to go regardless of whether the construction area has changed with the library…
At the moment the blue room is a room where we have big motor activities… the is room for running, dancing, climbing, jumping, and louder voices than in other rooms… bigger actions often come with bigger voices…

this is one of the entrances… 30 children hang their clothes here… we have a whole system during the day so that we do not have all thirty coming in and out at the same time. Chldren are dropped off between 6:30 and 9:00 in the morning and picked up between 14:00 and 18:00 in the afternoon so there is seldom crowding problems then. The silver/white cupboard to the left is the drying cupboard… so we can go out in all weathers…

this is the other entrance for 10-11 children
the premises are an old post office… so they are not designed as a preschool… this presents both challenges and opportunities

The green room… for water play… also were the very small toilet is, and also where the nappy changing area is. This is one of the least developed areas.

the orange room… at the moment this is where the very youngest members of the preschool start their day and also where they nap.
The whole preschool is available to ALL the children. The children are aged between 1 and 6 - this also presents challenges and opportunities… more about these in later posts…

The rainbow room… this is where we have our philosophy sessions with the children… it is also where we have our little "library" - we also have a public library right next door to us. This room is our quite room… it is a room where we expect the children to play quietly, to read… and this is so that all children know there is somewhere to go when they need a quiet moment during the day.


The Red Room… this is also where we have a kitchen area and the dishwashers… it is the most central part of the preschool.  Again you can see the difference between photos taken at adult height and photos taken at child height. We have just moved the construction materials from the yellow room into here… they were not being used so much in the yellow room, so we want to observe if there will be a difference by moving them.

The yellow room.
Roll-play is now moved to the left, with a hug mirror there… the writing/drawing table has been moved from the red room to the yellow room.
Before this room was one ENORMOUS room… without the white divider to create the art studio… the room said run… which since we already has a room for running felt like we were not providing enough diversity… the preschool should say more than run… even though I know children LOVE running!


So there it is… the preschool, not quite ready for the children but almost…
Next week there will be a post… and then there will be two weeks break as i will be in Canada meeting up with other ECE teachers - sharing knowledge and inspiring each other… so no doubt I will return from there with more ideas, more languages for my Third Teacher to learn…

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