Creating an environment that fosters curiosity, creativity and play

After reading, google-ing and reading some more, I decided to set up my room a little differently this year.  I wanted to create an inviting environment that fosters independence, creativity, curiosity and exploration, all through play.  After much moving and reorganizing, here is what my kindergarten classroom looks like so far:

Here is the first impression you get when you walk in our classroom door.

Another look from the door, this time looking in and to the left.  Our sensory table still needs to be filled!

This is what you see standing in the door and looking towards the door.

Our carpet time and gathering area.

Here is our dramatic play area, setup with a “kitchen” to start the year off.

This is going to be our “art centre”. I made the bench this summer with drawers to hold some of our bigger art materials like paper rolls, egg cartons, etc.

This small carpet area is for our building and construction centre.  Beside it, is our shelf of “tub toys” that we use to start each day aa well as our blue and green bins for returned library books.

Here is a look at another play area carpet and soon-to-be science area. In this picture you can also see the blue egg-chair for children who need a moment to calm down right beside our computer station (we got new computers and they have not been set-up yet).

Please leave me a comment letting me know what you think so far.  Do you have any other ideas you use to create a welcoming classroom environment?

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12 comments on “Creating an environment that fosters curiosity, creativity and play

  1. heather says:

    great photos! it certainly looks inviting! i would be interested to hear more of your insights as to why you made the changes in design that you did. what was your research and reading telling you about the way kindergarten students learn?

    • Hi Heather!
      Thanks for the compliments! One of my future posts will have to be about why I have set things up this way. Quickly though, I can tell you that I have been doing a lot of reading about the Reggio approach and that has influenced me to try some new things.
      Melissa

  2. Eric says:

    In my opinion, it is all too common for students to feel overwhelmed within the compact, relatively high energy environment of a school, with associated classrooms. Although it is indeed so important for children to recieve a “dose” of socialization, the impacts of overwhelm can be crippling. A classroom atmosphere is a wonderfull and ideal place to provide an opportunity for children to ground, and develop clarity about who they are, which they can then carry throughout their productive lives. Small things like slightly dimming lights, maintaining a neat and organized ambiance, plants and open windows for fresh air can provide dividends to students, reflected through their attitudes, behaviours and grades.

    • Agreed! This year one of my goals is to leave the fluorescent lights off as much as possible and have hung lamps from IKEA to try and help provide some more ambient lighting when needed. There is something to be said for bringing life though plants, rocks or other natural elements and natural light into a classroom. I’ll have to let you know how this change impacts my students’ attitudes, behaviour and overall academic sucess (and maybe even their mental health!) this year.

  3. Julie says:

    Hi Melissa – It looks amazing. You’ve always been so great with storage and organization!

  4. Jen says:

    It looks so good Melissa! Your hard work has definitely paid off 🙂

  5. Erinn says:

    Such an inviting learning space Melissa! You did a great job making it a beautiful classroom for your students!

  6. Holly says:

    Melissa.. Can I be in your class?

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