So this months theme for Mother Goose Time is Baby Animals. So every month I try to set up my classroom according to the theme. This often can be very stressful for me. We are winding down the end of the month and I need to decorate for the next month. Its very stessful for a teacher.
When I opened up in 2012 I had been researching Montessori and decided that I would like to use some elements in my classroom. I have Ikea shelves in my classroom, I set trays or baskets on these shelves or just the toy itself, one per shelf. That way the teacher is able to control the amount of toys that are out in the classroom at anyone time. It also helps so that the child does not feel overwhelmed by the choices in the classroom. There is a whole system in a montessori classroom that I did not feel comfortable putting into action in mines because the classroom wasnt montessori in the way it was run. Which means implementation would be lost or cause confusion. Most of the ideas I loved about Montessori had to do with helping children learn to take their learning in their own hands.
Every Mother Goose Time Box comes with Manipulatives for the classroom now. They are stamps of the shape of the month, Play doh letter cutters and counting manipulatives. I put the stamps in the stamp baskt and the cutters in the play doh basket and replace the manipulatives from last month with the current month. I then go about removing anything off the shelf that does not go with the theme of the month and anything they have lost interest with. I use the toy box as a way to replace the toys on the shelf every month. Because I have been buying the boxes for awhile, I have a pretty decent library going. I can now pull out other toys from the other months to use on the shelves. I know I have done a post about the toy boxes before and how I use them but I wanted to be specific this time. So for this post I will be taking a picture walk through my classroom showing you what came in the box and how I set up the classroom and explain why I decided to remove toys and how it might not apply to the theme of Baby Animals for the month.
It is important to remember to never remove toys the children are still using in the classroom. This will actually cause some issues. Especially if you have a child who uses certain toys to calm them down during the transition from mommy to preschool.
The cards that come in the box are to help the teachers figure out how to use the toys that come in the toy box. This is helpful, because if you have your classroom set up to do centers some of these toys can be set up in that way. I have centers set up with different concepts to address. I have a group of 6 everyday so centers is either partners or broken up into three's. One center is always art. Mostly because art can address multiple concepts at once. Another center will address Geography and another will address Math. Each center is fun but helps to increase a skill or introduces a skill.
I think the fact that I am able to adjust the toys for classroom to fit the theme makes the experiance that much better. The toys they are playing with have a direct line to the things we are learning for the month.
Having fun this month with the Baby Animals theme!
Live long and learn :)