"The best classroom and the richest cupboard is roofed only by the sky"
I wholeheartedly agree with Margaret McMillan that "the best classroom and the richest cupboard is roofed only by the sky".
If we were still in England, M would be starting preschool in September. In my career as a teacher I have worked with so many amazing and inspirational preschools. I am a little sad that America does not value early education in the same way that Europe does. We have looked at a few preschools here in Tucson, but nowhere so far has offered the breadth of experiences and play/child led learning that I would love to see.
So I decided to adapt our garden into an outdoor play and learning environment that can be the basis of much child led enquiry and learning. We have a small covered space to use that is about 10 feet by 40 feet, and then I plan to use the rest of the yard for closely monitored activities (as here in Arizona we get scorpions, tarantulas and snakes!) The covered porch area is what I have been working on this week.
I am quite pleased with my first attempt. We have a few different areas and zones that will work for M and her younger brother to play and explore.
We have a water table that can also be used for sensory activities. I have a few different types of toys that I can put in (ones for filling/measuring, ones for floating/sinking, letters, animals etc).
We have some space for gross motor activities like obstacle courses, wheeled toys and a slide.
Here is our easel. One side has a chalkboard and I have sidewalk chalks (we also use them on the floor). The other side is a magnetic whiteboard.
Today we got a basket of balls out. They are Os favourite and he loves to throw and chase after them.
We have a little playdough table for fine motor activities and sensory activities. We can also do crafts here (Ms favourite). I want to make a few different playdough mats to encourage different areas of learning.
Next week we are going to work on a little garden. We bought soil and M and I chose some seeds from our seed library. I love the enthusiasm that they have for learning.
I am open to ideas and suggestions :) I will be aiming to do a weekly #preschoolroundup and would love to see others do the same and share ideas. Feel free to drop a link to your #preschoolroundup or #learningoftheweek below