Welcome to our beautiful preschool classroom! Play to Learn Preschool was founded in 2005. Although many things have changed over the years, the goal has always been the same. The environment is organized into various learning areas where we plan invitations to play. Our desire is to create a space where the students feel comfortable enough to try new things, test their ideas, and carry through with whatever their imaginations can conceive. When students have autonomy in the classroom, we believe that they learn to be confident, independent, and creative thinkers.
Come on in and take a look. (Scroll through the galleries to see the pictures of each space!)
Work Areas in the Preschool Classroom
Here, at the school entrance, is where we take care of important daily business.
This area is where we keep our sign-in sheets, calendars, student directories, and binders of important information. In other words, items necessary and accessible to the grown-ups in the room, but not the students.
It is important for each student to have their own space in the classroom. At this school, it’s 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 every day.
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.
These two rectangular tables are for eating snacks and also for some of our whole-group art projects. We also have a “spill station,” which the students learn to use to clean up their messes independently.
Circle Time Area
This little nook is our “circle time” area. We gather here three 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 talk briefly about the day. I will often “pitch” or model 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 us 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 preschool classroom space is divided into various learning centers. 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 they spend at each one. Learning to negotiate space, supplies, time, and friends is an important part of the learning process! Some of the centers pictured below include:
- Round Table – We use this table for daily process art, a literacy center, or a science experiment.
- Block Center – There are hollow wooden blocks, smaller wooden unit blocks, brick blocks, toy cars, people, and more. The floor has interlocking foam squares to keep the noise down when towers topple over. We rotate toys through these shelves to keep the interest high. It’s one of the students’ favorite centers in the prechool classroom!
- Sensory Table – This amazing table is by Constructive Playthings. We fill the 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 – The white board is magnetic and often serves as a learning center. Scroll through the gallery to see some example activies.
- Math Center– This little 2-person station is the perfect place to practice math skills such as counting, number recognition, patterning, shapes, sorting, adding, and more. The small white board area is magnetic and there are shelves with storage on the back. The furniture is called the Math Center by Constructive Playthings.
- Light Table – The light table is another beautiful sensory 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. It’s the perfect size for our preschool classroom!
- Science Center – Students are invted to explore with their senses, test their predictions, and observe natural materials at the science center. We use this complete Science Center curriculum and change the invitations to play each week.
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Preschool Science Centers for the Year$99.00
Students will enjoy hands-on SCIENCE CENTERS all year long. Each unit includes a list of supplies for each topic, learning objectives, lesson ideas, as well as photos and activities that students will want to explore again and again! Encourage young learners to ask questions, make observations, and develop scientific thinking skills.
- Writing Center – Another staple of the preschool classroom! The students use this area to write notes, make cards, draw, use stickers, and more. The furniture brand is JontiCraft and we bought it in 2005. The shelves are stocked with paper, envelopes, note cards, post-it notes, crayons, and pencils.
- Art Easel – This is another center that is open and availble for the students to use. It usually has tempera paint, but sometimes we change it out for markers, oil pastels, or even just crayons. Read more about how to manage the art easel in the preschool classroom HERE.
- Interactive Bulletin Board – Vertical spaces are an ideal way for students to work together and move around at the same time. They are also great since they don’t take up a lot of space in the preschool classroom. Lots of Interactive Bulletin Board ideas HERE!
Home Living – Dramatic Play in the Preschool Classroom
Dramatic Play 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. This is the basic setup for about two weeks out of each month.
The landing area near our stairs has some stuffed animals, soft pillows, and books. Students can sit over there when they need a little quiet time or if they want to snuggle and listen to a good story.
We liven the home living center up the other two weeks of the month 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:
Outside of the Preschool Classroom
We do play outdoors each day for at least 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.
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