Monday, September 29, 2014

2014 Classroom Tour Blog Hop!

Classroom TourOne of my very favorite pieces of being a blogger is the opportunity to collaborate and work with other folks in the field. Today, I am joining in on a virtual classroom tour blog hop!

[caption id="attachment_997" align="aligncenter" width="300"]The children love to make forts with all of the loose parts in our outdoor classroom. The children love to make forts with all of the loose parts in our outdoor classroom.[/caption]

This hop was the brain child of Katie over at Preschool Inspirations.  One of my favorite things to do when I am on the road presenting is to have time to visit other programs. I learn so much from the little touches and individuality of each place! It is fantastic to see how different people organize supplies and set up their learning spaces. So, of course I wanted in on the action when Katie mentioned the idea of a virtual tour, a blog hop of classrooms.... of course I said "YES!"

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="320"] Here is an older photo from our mudpie kitchen. It looks basically the same now, but a bit more worn! (Click on the photo to go to the original post about this)[/caption]

I've been working to pull together some updated information about our space to share.... Please remember that we are a work in progress and our space is quite dynamic with many changes currently in progress.  (There are seriously NEVER enough hours in a day!) I thought I would remind you of some of our somewhat static features in addition to adding a few photos of areas I have not yet blogged about.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="240"] Here is our Sand and Water Wall- It still looks basically the same, but we have coated it in a variety of different paints. To read more about this -- click on the photo to my original post![/caption]

A few things about our program if this is your first time visiting the blog. We are a home based childcare program, licensed in the state of Michigan as a group home. This means that we are able to care for up to twelve children at any given time. Our license allows us to care for children from birth to aged 12. The range of children varies-- as many of the children  start with us at an early age and remain a part of our program even after they head off to school. We operate Monday -Friday from 6 am until 6 pm. Our program focuses on a play based emergent curriculum with plenty of time spent outdoors in our ever growing outdoor classroom! Our primary caregivers consist of myself (Ms. Amy) and my husband (Mr. Allan). So... remember, at the end of the day-- This is our home!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="240"] Here is an older photo of our outdoor music area. We are in the process of updating this area, but it still looks quite similar. Our banging post needs an overhaul-- but everything else is still functioning! Again, click on the photo to visit the original post.[/caption]

Here are a few photos I took this past weekend of areas of our yard I have not shared much about.... and changes in progress:

Our outdoro chalkboard strips were recently repainted as the original blue paint was quite weathered and worn out! They are now a charcoal grey. Click on the photo for the original post.

Our outdoor chalkboard strips were recently repainted as the original blue paint was quite weathered and worn out! They are now a charcoal grey. Click on the photo for the original post.

After visiting the Roseville Community Preschool and attending the Good Stuff for Kids Conference, I decided to "Bosify" the outdoor classroom. I decided to paint the strips opposite the chalkboard strips with some colors and add inspiring quotes to the space. In all honesty-- I have a number of the strips painted, but this is the only one that is complete with a quote. We will get there eventually, and for your reference the Good Stuff for Kids Conference is probably one of the most amazing conferences that I have ever been to!

Quotes on Fence

We also have a number of raised bed gardens in our outdoor space. We made them with cinder blocks. The children are great caretakers of the garden beds, and they love to help harvest the fresh fruits and vegetables. I don't have any photos of our most recent additions-- 5 fruit trees that were planted this summer to include peaches, pears, apples, cherries, and plums! We look forward to many bountiful harvests!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="506"]image It is late in our growing season, so you will notice many empty squares where various things have been harvested. You will also notice that we have both raspberries and strawberries. The raspberries are thorn-less, ever-bearing and yellow! (One of the children's favorite treats!)[/caption]

We have a number of other works in progress in the yard at the moment....

[caption id="attachment_960" align="aligncenter" width="168"]liloc cove This is going to be our "liloc cove" We had the center of the bush cut out so that we can build a hideaway fort for the children in the center. It is a work in progress-- if we do not complete it before the snow comes it will be high on our priority list for next spring![/caption]

We also had two of our other bushes pruned to open them up for cozy hideaways underneath. One of them is complete with cedar wood chips and the other will be finished this week when the wood chips are added.

cozy hideaway 1

cozy hideaway 2

If you are looking for more information about our outdoor classroom and the journey we have been undertaking, feel free to search the archives as there are many posts in regard to the spaces we have been working to create!

Now-- Let's head on inside for a few photos.... Most of these photos explain themselves.....

The first thing you see when you come through the door are the children's cubbies:

[caption id="attachment_1009" align="aligncenter" width="166"] As you can see-- these are currently a work in progress as well. We opted to cut them down and add a few more... So, they are together but are in need of a paint touch up! (Maybe next weekend......)[/caption]

We have a number of pets in our classroom too..... a dog named Scooby, a bearded dragon named Jake, a turtle named Bowser and a veiled chameleon named Cameron.  Scooby spends most of her time upstairs or on the stairs overlooking the classroom. The other critters have habitats scattered throughout the space. We also have a rather large (20 long) aquarium for our feeder crickets and a big meal worm farm. All of our reptiles eat crickets and worms daily.

Bowser our Red-Earred Slider Turtle

Jake our Bearded Dragon


Cameron our Chameleon


Here are a few other highlights from our space-- the pictures somewhat speak for themselves:

indoor easels

art supplies

art station

You may also be interested in the previous posts: A tinkering place and Create an Art Station

[caption id="attachment_983" align="aligncenter" width="168"]Dress Up Our ever evolving dress up.....[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_981" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Block Area Our block corner/area[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_980" align="aligncenter" width="168"]Music Area Our indoor music wall/area[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_979" align="aligncenter" width="168"]rocking chair and books Our only adult chair in the space next to our forward facing IKEA spice rack book shelves.[/caption]

Well-- that gives you at least a glimpse into our learning space. (I know there is more to share, but I'll save some of that for later!)  Thank you for joining us on our online virtual tour-- Now, hop on over and check out a few other classrooms who have opened their doors to you today too:

Classroom Tour Blog Hop Environments:

Katie at Preschool Inspirations
Jamie at Play to Learn Preschool
Darla at The Preschool Toolbox
Sheryl at Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds
Amy at Child Central Station (that's me!)
Mary Catherine at Fun-A-Day
Deborah at Teach Preschool

 I know I've been away from the blog for months. Life keeps happening, and as much as I love to share things with you here, I am many things before I am a blogger. One must have priorities! I thought about giving up on blogging completely, but have opted to keep the blog live and to get here now and again when I can .....even if that means I am not posting regularly. Until next time.... Hopefully sooner rather than later ~Amy
YannGarPhoto (Where are the stats??) via photopin cc

My friend died

 I learned a hell of a lot from Dan Hodgins.  He was mentor, a friend, and a "bone shaker" for many of us in the field of Early Ch...