My Classroom

My Classroom

I have already shared photos of my classroom on my Facebook page, so apologies to those of you who have already seen them. I have had a few ‘DM’ messages on Twitter from people explaining that they are not on Facebook & have had difficulty accessing them, so I am going to re-share them here.

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Small World Area & Construction Area

These areas are next to each other so that the resources can be easily shared if required.

As a child I loved small world play & it has remained a passion of mine – I love setting up little worlds for them to explore & adapt as they see fit. I have found that children particularly like engaging in this play on the floor & so that is where my area is in the classroom. Generally, I create the world as an initial provocation, but then the children are free to adapt it & use the open-ended resources to create their own worlds. There are materials on the shelves that they also have free access to.

The bricks & loose parts in the construction area are permanently available & I provide enhancements where necessary…

Small World and Construction... from Rachel (",)

Small World, Homemade Lightbox and Construction Area - from Rachel (",)

There is a spare table at the edge of the construction area which is handy to put out extra activities – sometimes the children just use it as platform to build on though…

Spare table... from Rachel (",)

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Discovery Table

An area for discovery & exploration. I have mirrors all over the classroom, but I especially like having one in this area. I just think it provides an added dimension to the exploration. This is a really simple way that we have used the table before…

Stone exploration at the Discovery Table - from Rachel (",)

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Malleable Area

Continuous provision for malleable play is available on the shelves & I add enhancements to the actual table…

Play dough area... from Rachel (",)

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Finger Gym

An area designed to promote & support the use of fine-motor skills. I love the Finger Gym! I change the activities weekly to sustain interest & motivation.

This is what it looks like empty… there are lots of examples of it in use on the blog…

Empty Finger Gym... from Rachel (",)

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Maths Area

Maths obviously happens everywhere in the classroom, but I do have an area to store resources & set up provocations. I would actually prefer shelving with more accessible loose parts/resources in my Maths area, rather than these trays, but this is what we have at the moment…

Maths Area... from Rachel (",)

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Sand

I have decided to facilitate sand play in a different way this year & will see how it goes. A course I attended earlier in the year with the fabulous Alistair from ABC Does really made me think about how the sand was used by the children. He asked us to think about what we could do in the sand that we couldn’t do elsewhere & it was quite tricky! All the things we came up with were possible with mud & soil outdoors or in the water tray etc. I started to wonder if I actually needed the traditional sand tray & continuous provision shelves, when I can facilitate more challenging sand play in other ways. So, for now at least, I have removed it & will monitor what happens. I will still have sand available, & will provide more considered, differentiated tools rather than just the usual buckets, spades, scoops etc. I am hoping that this will encourage more than just the low-level play I have often seen. We will see!

This is the first way we have had sand this year – a simple tub with bowls & different sized scoops/spoons…

Exploring sand with differentiated tools... from Rachel (",)

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Water Area

This year I have replaced the plastic resources with metal & brass (again inspired by ABC Does) & am hoping that the use of ‘real’ items will encourage them to not just fill the water tray with the jugs & then abandon them. We also have other resources such as colanders, tubing, turkey basters, pipettes, nets, bowls etc etc…

Water shelves... from Rachel (",)

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Snack Area

This is a self-serve area. The children help themselves to fruit & water/milk when they are ready for it. I have a photo frame that holds 10 photos in the middle of the table & put interesting pictures in for the children to look at & talk about – this is changed weekly…

Snack area... from Rachel (",)

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Reading

As well as books, there are soft toys & finger puppets to support story telling…

Finger puppets... from Rachel (",)

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Mark Making

Mark making materials are organised according to colour, rather than medium (although I do also provide ‘themed’ mark-making materials, depending on interest e.g. pirate/dinosaur/princess pencils etc)…

Organised according to colour... from Rachel (",)

A selection of papers, card, little books envelopes etc are also constantly available & I add ‘interest’ papers & books (such as superheroes and so on) as needed…

Paper selection... from Rachel (",)

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Display Boards

These are kept neutral to allow the children’s work to really stand out. I have used cream or brown paper so that the colour in the children’s work isn’t ‘fighting’ with a brightly coloured background. Their creations are set off beautifully & it also makes for a much calmer atmosphere! There is a clipboard for each child on one of the display boards & anything at all can be attached here – art work, mark-making maths, photographs… whatever! Each board is individual to the child…

Neutral displays... from Rachel (",)

The bicycle wheels below will have thumbnails of the children pegged to the spokes…

Bicycle wheel display space - thumbnails to be pegged onto the spokes... from Rachel (",)

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That’s all for now. Apologies again, to those who have already seen these images!

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Thanks for looking!

Rachel (“,)

20 Comments

  1. Wow, thanks so much for sharing!

    I love your classroom – it seems so accessible, and it all just looks so appealing that I feel excited and want to play. I guess the children have this feeling tenfold!

    The mirrors also have a really great effect, they make it feel open and organised and work with the lights to make it feel a bit magical! What initially inspired you to use mirrors like this? And I take it they are all just ordinary mirrors (my old school wouldn’t allow these due to the dreaded Health and Safety…).

    I am definitely bookmarking this page to keep referring back to as I perfect future classrooms!

    Kim
    xxx

    Reply
    • Hi Kim, thank you! (“,)
      I love having mirrors, they bring so much to the room & provision, & the children LOVE them. Over the past 18 months I have become really interested in the Reggio approach & so this is what originally inspired me to use them – I looked at so many images of Reggio-inspired classrooms.
      I’d be devastated if I was told I couldn’t have them anymore!

      Reply
  2. Hi Rachel,
    As always, so informative and inspiring!
    Here in the US, we often use sensory bins, like you seem to use the sand area. Do you ever switch it out with another material? We use various beans, rice, buckeyes and acorns, feed corn, oats, ice with water, and other things. Some have an ideological problem with playing with food; I am ok with it.
    Just wondering if sand is a constant for you!
    Blessings to you,
    Chris

    Reply
    • Thanks Chris!
      Yes, I have ‘sensory bins’ sometimes too – although we don’t call them ‘bins’, as a bin in the UK is a trash can! 😉 I would call it a sensory ‘tub’.
      If possible, I try to use out-of-date food when I use it.
      Before this year sand was a constant & the sensory tub would have been an addition if I could find space in my (small) classroom. This year I may not have it all the time. This week, for instance, we have tea & coffee in the space where my sand tub was (& they are LOVING it!)
      Rachel (“,) x

      Reply
  3. I plan to steal a few ideas from you- what an amazing classroom! Thanks for sharing pictures!

    Reply
    • Thanks for the lovely comment! (“,)

      Reply
  4. Just needed to say thank you for creating your blog. You have so inspired me, to try and change and add to our resources (difficult as we are a pack away preschool and I can’t leave out any items not even display boards, so here goes.) Going to tell all practitioner I know to have a look.

    Reply
    • Thank you for the lovely comment, Sara!
      Can’t imagine how hard it must be, to be a pack-away preschool!
      Good luck!! x

      Reply
  5. I absolutely love your classroom! I teach in a school district in California that is reggio-inspired and I love it! Maybe one day when I visit England I could possibly tour your center.

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas!!

    Reply
    • Oh thank you, Amanda! I am only learning about Reggio-inspired teaching really, but I love what I have discovered so far. I visited my friend in California last year, so I should have come & had a nosey in your school! 😉 x

      Reply
  6. Do you have a supplier for the mirrors ? or are they custom made? I am in Australia and have never seen such beautiful mirrors

    Reply
    • They are all old second hand ones – either bought from charity shops or eBay. Love my mirrors!

      Reply
  7. Are the children allowed to freeflow or do you carousel them in groups around the different areas?

    Reply
    • They freeflow to the different areas & in/outdoors (“,)

      Reply
  8. Hi Rachel, your classroom is just beautiful. I love the lighting in it. I think my classroom is too bright and i wouldn’t have anywhere to put a light table as i don’t think anything would show up on it! I love all the light tubes and fairy lights wrapped around the branches above your display board too. How did you attach the bike wheels to the display boards? I have some spare and would love to do this! Also love the natural display boards, have any other year groups taken this on? I think i’d be shunned at my school for it!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Emily!

      I am lucky enough to be able to have all the lights on in the classroom, or just half of them – this really makes a difference to the ambience of the room. The children themselves often decide how many they wish to be turned on. I have had quite a few people visit over the past months & they have all commented on how calm the room is. I’m sure this is helped by the lighting & natural ‘feel’ to the room.

      The wheels are attached with fishing wire & cup hooks – the cup hooks are screwed into the wooden borders & the fishing wire is threaded through the wheels & round the cup hooks. It was a really fiddly job & it took two of us, but small photographs look fab pegged onto them & I have had lots of lovely comments.

      All of our Foundation Stage classes have brown or cream paper (although they may have ‘edged’ them with different colour border paper, whereas I just have black). A few of the other classes have one or two boards backed in the same way, but there are still lots of brightly backed boards in school.

      Hope that helps!

      Rachel (“,)

      Reply
  9. Hi Rachel
    I’ve just discovered your website and just wanted to say thanks for sharing all of your lovely ideas. Your classroom must be an amazing and stimulating environment for your children and I’ve really enjoyed looking at the ideas you’ve photographed.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Jeanette!

      Reply
  10. Hi Rachel,

    Your classroom looks amazing! I was wondering what permanent resources you have in your malleable area?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Thank you!
      This is my old classroom – you can see my current one in this post: http://stimulatinglearning.co.uk/2016/08/my-environment/

      There are always plain rolling pins, patterned rolling pins, dough tools, basic shape cutters, Mr Potato Head face & body parts, cutlery, cups, plates, pots, pans, cake cases.
      I have space on the shelves to add other ‘longer term’ provision & then enhance each week with resources that fit in with whatever our focus is.
      Hope that helps! 🙂

      Reply

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