It's nearly the end of the summer holidays. So naturally our thoughts have turned to our new cohorts. We're excited by the thought of starting again - new children, giving new ideas, a new energy, leading to new experiences. And obviously, this means getting your setting ready. But where do you start? If you're an NQT or you're moving rooms/schools then this could mean a new start. And if not, then you have an existing environment to consider.
For us, we start with the children coming up. Throughout the year, from the very beginning, we shape the setting around the needs and interests of the children. Obviously this isn't possible over the Summer holidays so what can you do? Well, how about those transition forms? We read through the transition forms so that we can get to know the children. If there is a particular activity or area that some of the children enjoy, then perhaps recreating this means that the children will settle more quickly. We will look for where the children might have lower attainment, for example Speaking and Listening. Then we will think about how we can change the environment to support and develop this area.
So when Mark went into school this week - this is what the classroom looked like....
Tempted as he was to ride around on the floor buffer, instead he thought he had better be a little bit more constructive. He couldn't move the furniture as the floor wasn't finished being cleaned so he got on with some displays....
The cohort has shown a need to ensure lots of opportunities for speaking and listening. Mark used a display box from Ikea and added a puffer fish that he found in the Science cupboard. It's sure to start up some conversations! He plans on changing the item in the box regularly - perhaps even letting the children bring in their own talking point items!
Another change to Mark's classroom has come in the shape of this mark making station. The roll of lining paper is simply loosely trapped between the unit and the table, allowing the children to pull more through when they need to! Over the year this will evolve to reflect the needs of the cohort but to being with we'll be talking about 'Ourselves' so it seemed like a good idea to get them drawing!
Mark has also moved his reading area so has created a 'woodland' themed book 'corner'. There is also a woodland backdrop to go up - pictures to follow soon!
It's not the 'perfect' classroom but then - what is? What it will be is a reflection of the interests combined with the needs of the children (using a combination of transition data and observations). And if that is exactly what it should be.
Why not share your classroom pics to inspire fellow Ace family members?!
Have a fab start to the new year!
Anita and Mark x