In a new job share partnership in a K/1 class for the 2016-2017 school year, we realized that we had a shared interest in learning more about the ideas underpinning Reggio-inspired early learning, and wondered how we might use what we learned to shift our practice. We felt that a good place to start would be in looking at our classroom environment and how we could begin the process toward a transformation of that space.
Over the course of this project we had moments of joy and excitement, as well as moments of frustration and questioning. The joy would come, for example, when we could see a positive connection between a change in the classroom environment and student connection, wonder, or learning. Frustration and questions arose when faced with perceived limitations in fixed structures or materials in our space, or trying to find the balance between changing things in the classroom and not changing so much that children were overwhelmed. As much as possible we worked in conversations with the children about the classroom space and materials, and having these conversations helped build ownership, purpose, and positive feelings about changes, rather than see them as something unsettling.
Going forward, we are committed to continuing with the process of creating and maintaining an environment that reflects our beliefs in the importance of Reggio-inspired early learning. One future direction is to work in the summer through some of the challenges we faced so that we can have our classroom space and materials well set up before children arrive for the new school year. In this way we are hopeful that we will have created a foundation for working together with the children to make the space our own, to see ourselves in the space, and to explore, learn, and grow together. We are grateful to have been given the opportunity to receive a Learning Journeys Grant to help us on this path.