Building a classroom is no easy task. Teachers start with a clean slate and must create something that students feel comfortable and safe in. At the early childhood education (ECE) level, we know that incorporating certain areas can enhance our ability to target goals for development. One of the tricky things about our line of work is creating an environment that is rich in developmental learning yet SUPER inviting for children. In our experience, telling students that you will be reciting the alphabet can be less appealing than playing a letter matching game with friends. Having children fill out worksheets can seem labor intensive while sculpting letters out of play dough fosters fine motor skills and allows teachers to observe a child’s letter recognition. It’s pretty cool when you witness a child having fun while learning and developing new skills all through play (what kids do best…and some adults).
Some of our most frequently asked parent questions/concerns are:
“Is my child learning letters and numbers?”
“Is my child making friends?”
“Will they be ready for Kindergarten?”
“How will I know what they are learning?”
“What can we do at home to support learning?”
All of these questions are totally reasonable and valid. We also recognize that when one enters an ECE classroom, sometimes the first impression is that it just looks like a playroom. And what-the-heck? You are paying for pre”SCHOOL.” We’re not offended – we get it and are happy to talk about why we do the things we do. So, without further ado – we would like to introduce our classrooms. At Sandcastle, each classroom must include designated areas that are considered best practice for ECE. Within each of these areas, awesome learning happens and are aligned with the curriculum we implement (The Creative Curriculum).
Here’s the scoop:
Blocks – The blocks area allows students to build and create. Blocks are designed in proportional units and foster math, physics and problem solving. Children create designs and build what they see around them.
Dramatic Play – The language development that occurs in the dramatic play area is SO incredible! Also, social development happens like crazy here. Children take on roles and act out real life situations using props. They learn to take turns and communicate with one another.
Fine Motor & Discovery – The tables in the classroom are set up each morning with activities that allow children to practice fine motor development and/or exploratory skills. Fine motor development is essential and directly lends to writing skills. Discovery activities allows children to explore and ask questions about things. Sand, water, magnets and other materials from the natural world foster curiosity and can ignite desire for further scientific learning.
Large Group Meeting Area – Each day, each class gathers (at least once) for large group meetings/activities. During this time, we discuss the learning that will happen for the day, engage in conversations about the study that we are in and practice specific academic content.
Library/Quiet Space – This area is for children to explore books with one another or on their own. We educators can facilitate literacy development by observing children using reading materials. One of the foundational skills we watch for is a child’s ability to recognize how to move through a book.
All of our classroom spaces are intentional and are designed to target each child’s specific developmental goals. We work hard to stay educated and up-to-date on ECE best practice. We are proud of our classrooms and we hope your children are too.