Sunday, September 2, 2012

Using Fabric To Enhance The Preschool Classroom Environment

As an educator on a budget, I'm always looking for inexpensive ways to add a little "something extra" to the classroom. I've been experimenting with adding elements of whimsy. This sheer curtain was under $10 dollars at Walmart, and since then it has been used several different ways in my classroom:

We draped it over the dramatic play area...
I had been looking for ways to drape fabric over the the pretend center without violating the fire codes here (we cannot hang anything within 18 in from the ceiling). This curtain was thumb-tacked to the wall, and is hanging from a white, wood curtain rod. The curtain rod was secured with fishing line that is taped to the ceiling.
The curtain also served as a "tent" for a camp sight. 
I thumb-tacked to the wall, and used clear, packing tape to secure it to the shelf.
We used rope lights to enhance the tent.
Finally, we used it as a make-shift canopy over the cozy area/library.
I couldn't get a great shot of the rope lights, because the hall lights kept interfering with my camera, but it looks really cozy and wondrous when the lights are off. 

This time we used wood curtain rods, a little duct tape, and thumb tacks. Next time, I would use the clear, packing tape, but we didn't have any "on hand" at the moment.

I love the idea of using fabric to enhance the environment. The use of fabric can set an area apart, and make a child feel like this is a space especially for him/her.

If you are wondering how the  three-year old children handled it, I will tell you the truth. They handled it just fine. Of course, they did test it at first. Some experimented with tossing stuffed animals and small toys on top of the curtain. Others jumped and jumped and jumped to touch the smooth material. This is to be expected. I'm a firm believer that we should not restrict the environment out of fear of this initial testing phase. If you set clear expectations that the environment is to be respected, and demonstrate how to use the space, the set up can last for months and months!

Happy playing!

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