Thursday, June 30, 2011

Space for the People Using It

"I never design a building before I've seen the site 
and met the people who will be using it."
~Frank Lloyd Wright

I love this quote from Frank Lloyd Wright. It always reminds me that the classroom is a place for the kids - and I need to make sure I'm creating a space that is for the people using it. I've blogged about the learning environment before - making it just right and letting it be noisy and messy. But today I'm thinking about creating an environment that matches the kids using it.

Before I get my new class, I set up the classroom in a general way. And that general layout usually stays in place, changing and adjusting throughout the year to accommodate whatever activities we are doing. But I've discovered that the classroom (and the activities) tend to adjust for the class I have, according to the people using it.

Last year, I had a class that loved dramatic play - they loved pretending and playing scenarios together.

My space grew to accommodate this interest. I planned more activities that allowed this type of play and gave more room for them to do it.

This year, the class I have loves blocks and construction. They want to build and create.

The space for dramatic play - while still available - has shrunk somewhat. The space for building has expanded for more kids and greater creations.

I also use more activities and look for ways to incorporate different materials in the blocks center. My conversations have changed to incorporate the children's interests and creations.

My classroom still has the general layout and general activities that I always have. Some areas change and adjust to fit the people using it. That way I can use the children's interests to focus on learning. The space serves the kids - and that's the whole point.

(Read more about learning environment at Prekinders, the latest stop on the book study blog party.)


  1. Fabulous post, Scott. Changing and adjusting the environment to uplift the interests of the children also makes it more interesting for the teachers (you) each year, as well :) Wonder who/what will happen this coming year...!

  2. Yes, yes, yes... and of course through the year it's important to be alert to changes in interests and adjust the space accordingly (which I'm sure you do- you are so beautifully sensitive to your kids' needs!). I find that a change of layout can also get the kids back 'on track' if behaviour problems start to arise- I once created a huge improvement just by expanding block corner, because there were too many energetic 5-yr-old boys competing for the area available.