Sunday, January 9, 2011

Bust out the good crayons

I am starting my position mid-year because the teacher I'm replacing retired after many, many years of teaching. There was a lot of stuff in the classroom. A LOT of stuff. She didn't throw or give anything away, as far as I can tell. I have found instructional materials from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and 00s. I know how incredibly lucky I am--I have heard stories of teachers walking into absolutely bare classrooms.

We all have our own styles, and I am finding that I need a little less stuff and a little more space to function well in this classroom, so I'm moving on a few things to new homes. This is a long process, to look at each item and evaluate it. So many things have value in an early childhood classroom, but a balance must be struck between storage for lots of good resources, and lots of good space for the children to explore those resources.

Something I am noticing in this process is that a lot of excellent, barely used or never used supplies were in the cupboards. Some were still in the shrink wrap. But, a lot of the things out for the children were well past their life span, like puzzles so frayed on the edges that they really couldn't be put together anymore.

I understand this impulse. It's easy to keep a new set of paints perfect on the shelf, and hard to put them out, to their inevitable fate in small hands. But, of course, who are the paints for? What is their purpose?

What is the lesson I'm taking from this? It's to bust out the good crayons. If you, too, have a lovely set of high quality oil pastels hidden away, let's do it together. Let's both offer the good stuff to these children, this year. Maybe even tomorrow.


  1. This is great advice. Art supplies are totally an area in which I do this. Toys I put out but art supplies, which will get used up, are more precious. I've got to get over it!

  2. It is important to present and environment that reflects what you value. Well done busting out the good stuff

  3. Yes! And bust out that good dress too, and dance.
    You are going to be wonderful. Happy New Year!