One Sunflower

space, just one frontier

on August 1, 2010

I’ve been thinking a lot about space lately.
On my last visit out to my school, I peeked into my freshly tiled classroom just to put a picture in my head of the space. When I moved into that classroom 5 years ago, it was my first time as a preschool teacher to be the first to set up a space.  I was using all my old furniture, but this time, as primary teacher, I was able to configure it as I pleased.   Of course there were some elements I couldn’t change or move, the doorways, sink, built-in shelving and electrical outlets, so they became starting points for some areas in the room.  I had one heavy cabinet that I knew I wouldn’t be able to move once it was in the room so I thought carefully about where I wanted it before letting it off the dolly.
But now my room is a clean slate again – even that cabinet is out of its corner and I’m able to start fresh.

I am reminded of my first peek into the classroom I was to have as a preschool teacher in the South Pacific – a job I didn’t take, but that’s another story.  The room was probably 20 feet square, windows on two sides, dirt floor, one row of shelving along a wall, and that was it.  No other furniture, no toys, nothing.  “What do you think?” I was asked.  “It will be absolutely fine,” was my answer.  Because it would have been.  The out-of-doors would have been our primary environment and the stuff of nature our curriculum materials.

The outdoor environment at my current school is not very wonderful but I try to get the students out into it as much as possible.  I hate to admit that now I am dependent on the “stuff” of my classroom and would be terrified if I was escorted to an empty room and asked to teach.  But what I knew would be true in Tonga is also true in my classroom today; it is the relationships we build and the stories we tell together that constitute endless possibilities for learning about and from each other.


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