There’s always a reason to wait … a reason to not do something. But sometimes when we choose to wait, I wonder if we lose the courage to give things a try. One of the things I love about my teaching partner, Paula, is that even when she’s afraid, she’s still always willing to take a chance. I think that we can all learn something from this.
For a couple of weeks now, we’ve been talking a lot about moving our Book Nook area to beside our dramatic play space. This goes against everything that I think I know about self-regulation and micro-environments, but it seems to be what our students want and need. They continue to expand the house area into the book space, and since these two spaces are so far apart, this often leads to running. We thought that by putting them together, students could connect the play, but minimize the movement. Since dramatic play is always so popular, having the books as part of it, may also increase the reading and bring the reading into the play. When we first looked at this possibility, we figured that to make this work, we would need to move the desktop computer to the other side of the SMART Board. And so, we’ve spoken about this option, inquired about moving the computer, but haven’t actually made the move.
Then on the weekend, we saw this great Instagram post by Darla Myers.
As we conversed with Darla on her post, we realized that she linked the books, the blocks, and dramatic play. Right now, our blocks are next to dramatic play, and while we hoped that the two areas would merge, they haven’t much at this point. But do we have enough room to create the same set-up that Darla has, and would this work for our students?
Yesterday, Paula and I discussed giving this set-up a try. While we still have the desktop computer to deal with, Paula wondered if it could be a part of this space. I couldn’t really visualize what she had in mind, but I suggested that maybe one afternoon, we co-create this space with the students and see what happens. Paula thought that would be great! This was where our conversation ended, and then today happened.
During First Nutrition Break, I went to the staffroom for lunch and to do some work, and when I came back to the classroom, I realized that something changed. Oh my goodness! Paula got a group of students to help move the furniture and set-up our new house/Book Nook/block space. The sofa even lost a screw during the moving process, but a student fixed that as well. 🙂
A screw fell out of our sofa. No problem. H. is on it! 🙂 pic.twitter.com/uTzu0GtTDT
— Aviva Dunsiger (@avivaloca) February 7, 2017
I will admit that at first the change overwhelmed me. I told Paula that, and she suggested that we give the students a little time to settle in and then see what else we needed to change. Great advice! We gave it some time, and realized that there was too much open space between the house and the Book Nook area. This is when you get running and/or cats crawling around. 🙂 Paula turned the sofa and chair to create a more defined reading area, and that seemed to help.
Since we moved the light table out of the house, there is no table in there, so again, the open floor space leads to more running or crawling. Angela, our additional DECE, helped us solve this problem at the end of the day today. Paula mentioned that she would love a crib for the babies, and Angela said that there’s a small baby bed down in the library. We now have it in our room, and the addition of this in the space, should help with the running and crawling.
Even with the few design problems we had to solve, this new layout highly reduced the noise in the room today. Students are using our entire space (classroom) better, which does help a lot with the noise. Plus, by moving the Book Nook area over by dramatic play, we now have a space for a lovely writing/drawing table tucked in over by the window. Many children used this quiet space today, and it linked so nicely with our art area, which is now closer to actually being an atelier. We also have the light table set-up to actually use as a light table. Paula has some wonderful sensory light table options, which will not only link with our Art inquiry, but also support some students that need it.
I share this story here because this change was a positive one, but it’s also one that may never have happened. If it weren’t for Paula making the decision, enlisting some student help, and moving things around today, we would probably still be talking about possibilities tomorrow … but not doing anything.
- Not every change is a great one.
- Things rarely work out perfectly the first time.
- Tweaking is a part of the process.
- Time is also necessary. I was once told to give any change at least a week before deciding if it works or doesn’t. A week seems like a long time, but in the end, the time is so often worth it.
But if we don’t try, how will we ever know what else is possible? What’s holding you back? Maybe we all need a “Paula,” who is willing to “just do it!”