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  • Dotty Meyer

If These Walls Could Talk



If these walls could talk, what would they tell you? The fact is the walls in early childhood  classrooms can talk - you just need to know how to listen (or know what to look for).  Here are some tips... When visiting perspective programs for young children, be observant of what is posted on the walls and bulletin boards. You may see too many things - such as commercial posters, signs and labels, schedules, rules, photographs, and charts. Or you may notice the opposite - the absence of things such as paintings and pictures the children may have created. Both will tell you something about who works and plays in this classroom.  Too many things on the wall can make a place feel over simulating and busy. Too many teacher made charts and rules may say this classroom is teacher dominated. Art work that is old, rabbit-eared, and hanging crooked, sends a message about the value (or lack of value) placed on children's contributions. Cookie-cutter artwork (everyone's picture looks the same) and art projects that focus on the product, rather than the process, tell you how the school supports the development of creativity in each child. Children's art work and photographs of the children are important additions in all classrooms. Photos and artistic creations provide personal touches that say "We are the people that live and play in this room." "We are important, and our teachers love and respect us."    Early childhood classrooms are already busy places. It is for that reason teachers need to provide calm, peaceful places for children to play and interact with others. The walls should  be painted in calm, soft colors. Art work should be proudly displayed for both adults and children, and hung with care, in aesthetically pleasing ways.  If you consider preschool to be the bridge between home life and getting ready to go the big school, as I do, it should look homey and feel cozy, yet provide some structure. I love to see posted classroom rules that are stated positively - stating what we can do, rather than what we can't, "We walk inside" rather than "No running," for example. I also try to take note of who made up the rules - were they generated by the children or coming down from the teachers? This is all good information to know when considering places to leave your child for a morning, a day, a whole school year. Listen to those walls. 😊

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