Saturday, September 10, 2011

A new season

I had the realization as I walked through a craft store for the umpteenth time this summer that I was going a little crazy with my classroom planning this year.  I was wondering at my excitement when I realized that it's been almost two full years since I had my "own" classroom.

This last season at our little preschool has been one of expansion; I had gone from teaching/directing a half-day program (working with one other teacher) to managing a full time program that had grown to three campuses and ten staff members!  My focus had been on the larger picture and I had a HUGE learning curve with all the changes.  This summer calmed down quite a bit.  Our stretched boundaries settled into a smaller, more manageable space, and I have been able to settle into teaching 1/2 day once more -  thus the excitement at preparing for my class this fall.

Our preschool is located in our church facility and is a shared-use space.  This helps us to be very organized, clean, and creative with our classroom set-up (that is all positive spin ; ).  Our Children's Ministry team does all the theme decoration so we work with what we have.  My classroom is currently a little sparse so I decided to give it a little more oomph and go with the "Safari" theme that was already provided by our church.  I added touches that could stay in place for the weekend and expanded some of my classroom items to include the theme.
We have open shelving storage that is difficult to use in a room shared with other weekly activities.   I decided to make curtains to cover it up - out of sight out of mind!  To make the curtains, I used a shower curtain from a discount store, added the cheetah fabric border at the bottom and placed on suspension rods. To decorate the top of the shelves I added some "greenery" and a few safari animals.

Below the curtains are white cabinets - I added some monkeys for fun : )
My walls grew vines for some monkeys to swing from (vines are made from crumpled brown paper - I used "sticky stuff" to attach them to the wall)
My student file box got a new sign
My cubbies got a new background (printed from publisher, covered in contact paper)
My carpet squares were "rebound" with animal print duct tape

Our room has wonderful ceiling to floor windows - the light is fabulous until nap time.  I've been wanting to add curtains for several years to help darken the room in the afternoon.  To make these curtains, I bought sheets at a discount store and added the cheetah print border to give them a little character.  To attach them to the window I used Velcro - they can come down easily when needed for other church activities and I didn't have to spend time or money on installing curtain rods. 

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