Welcome to our beautiful preschool classroom! The school is organized into various learning areas where we plan invitations to play. Our desire is that it is a space where the students feel comfortable enough to try new things, test out their ideas, and carry through with whatever their imaginations can conceive. The basic layout hasn’t changed since 2005, but we do add new things and change the style regularly. Click HERE if you would like to see the original classroom tour that we published on this site.
Now, onto the photos!
Preschool Classroom “Work Area”
Here, at the school entrance, is where we take care of business:
- Teacher Desk Area – This small area is where we keep our sign-in sheets, calendars, student directories, and binders of important information.
- Student Cubbies – The students each have a locker or “cubby” where they hang their backpacks, jackets, and take off their shoes. We use the top of the cubbies as a sort of mailbox where we pile their communication folders and take-home papers each day. Watch more about the daily reports that we write for them each day HERE.
- Snack Area – On the right, we have a small refrigerator, cabinets with snacks and cooking supplies, a microwave, and all of our snack dishes. You can see more pictures of the snack area HERE.
- Work Space – We use the white counter on the right as work space for preparing snack or art supplies.
- Snack Tables – These two rectangular tables are for eating snack and also for most of our art projects. Anytime we work with paint, play dough, watercolors, etc. we try to do it here (because of the wood floors).
This is the view of the classroom from the students’ cubbies.
Circle Time Area
This little nook is our “circle time” area. The students each have a space marked on the carpet. We gather here 3 times each day:
- First thing in the morning:
- The students come here to complete their morning work. (Click HERE to watch a video about the morning work that our Pre-K students complete. Click HERE to watch a video about the name activities that our younger students do for morning work.)
- After everyone has settled in, we sing a Hello Song and work on their names again. (Watch more HERE.) You can see an example of the students working on their Name Song HERE.
- We knock on Betsy’s mailbox and she comes out to greet the class. We check the snack chart and the older kids take a look at what is on the calendar. We talk briefly about the day and I will often “pitch” a new center or art activity to the students.
- Mid-Morning Circle Time
- Although our students have time to work at centers for about 2 hours (from 9:00 – 11:00, you can read more about our daily schedule HERE or watch the video HERE), we stop for a little snack break at 10:00.
- At break time, the students use the bathroom and wash their hands.
- Because we can only take 1-2 at a time, the other students meet for the mid-morning circle time.
- We do some music and movement dances, recite fingerplays (like THESE and THESE).
- After everyone has gone to the bathroom, we do a mini-lesson based on the topic we’re learning about. This gives Miss Gemma a chance to make sure everything is ready for snack! You can see lots of examples of our mini-lessons for circle time HERE, HERE and HERE.
- Story Circle Time
- Finally, at the end of the day, we meet for about 10-15 minutes to read a story and recap the day.
- We try to make sure the story is perfect for our group of students. The ideal preschool book has these things in common. It’s always a good idea to include the students in the story. Here are some ideas for interactive books, and these are some of the ways that we foster comprehension and spice up our story time.
- Betsy comes out of her mailbox again to give the kids a hug and we sing “Preschool Time is Over Now!”
Our classroom space is dividing into various learning centers. As I’ve mentioned in many videos (like this one or this one or this one!) our students are free to work at the center of their choice during this time. We do not restrict the number of students or the amount of time that they spend at each one. Learning to negotiation space, supplies, time and friends is the most important part of the learning process! Some of the centers pictured below include:
- Listening Center – That little set of red chairs and A-shaped bookshelf are the listening center. We change the books on that bookshelf regularly to reflect the season, holiday, or theme we are learning about. Many of the books have CDs in them, and the students use the stereo (and sometimes headphones) to listen to them.
- Yellow Circle Table – We set out invitations to play on a weekly basis. The example in this picture is a literacy center where the students can use small cars to drive in the shape of the letters (made with road tape!).
- Block Center – On the left, you can see a glimpse at our block center. There are hollow wooden blocks, smaller wooden unit blocks, brick blocks, toy cars, people, and more. It’s one of the students’ favorite centers!
- Sensory Table – We fill this table with a sensory material (like rice, pumpkin seeds, kinetic sand, Insta-Snow, etc) each month. Then we add different tools and accessories on a weekly basis.
- White Board – On the other side of the block center in another small learning area. The white board is magnetic and often serves as a learning center, like the clothing activity HERE or the gingerbread counting center HERE.
- Kidney Table – This moon-shaped table provides another space for a learning center. Sometimes the invitation to play will involve math, fine motor skills, or a smaller sensory experience. Read HERE about how we use small sensory bins to reach reluctant learners.
Home Living – Dramatic Play
This is (hands-down) our favorite area of the room. It is a kitchen and home living area where the students can cook, play family, take care of the babies, dress up, and pretend to clean. For about 2 weeks out of each month, this is the basic set up.
Click HERE if you’d like to see some older, more in-depth photos of the home living center.
The other 2 weeks of the month, we liven the home living center up by transforming it into something really special. You can click HERE to see all of the different pictures. We also share them on FB live:
- Light Table – This newer addition to our classroom is a beautiful space for students to design art, practice letters, work on sorting, patterns, shapes and more. Ours is from Whitney Brothers (HERE) and we just love it.
- Quiet Space – The landing area near our stairs has some stuffed animals, soft pillows, and books. Students can sit over there when then need a little quiet time or if they want to snuggle and listen to a good story.
- Small Square Table – We like to set up little invitations to play that are perfect for 2 students at the small table. Alternatively, we sometimes leave it empty so that the students can use it for their own art projects or games.
- You can see some pictures HERE.
- Come along on a video tour of the Art Center HERE. We try to answer your questions and offer some “hacks” to help save your sanity when the kids are painting.
Not Pictured Here:
We do play outdoors each day for about 20-30 minutes. Here are a few shots of the backyard play space.
Classrooms are often a reflection of the atmosphere of the school. We hope that ours shows how much we love our students, how we value their creativity and curiosity, and how we want their time with us to be full of joy and wonder.
If you are local, we would like to invite you in for a tour. Please contact Jamie (PTLpreschool@gmail.com) any time.