You know how you don’t always see what’s really there until you look closely? Last week, when I was visiting the Year 1 classrooms, I started noticing little things. The classroom was generally dirty, things could be better organized, and it was in need of some TLC. Why hadn’t I noticed it before? Once I noticed, I couldn’t stop seeing all the little things that needed to be fixed. I decided I would make Year 1 my mission.
After a trip to IKEA last weekend for some new toys and furniture to makeover the dramatic play home corner and a bit of purging during the week, I realized this was a massive job– one that would require uninterrupted time, without students there.
Today, I began the mammoth task of purging, cleaning, organizing, and redecorating. Starting at 9:00am, my energy and enthusiasm on high, I first got a feel for the space, made a tentative plan, and began taking it apart. Luckily I had a few helpers stop by to lend a hand. The two Year 1 teachers, Feb and Veronica, Veronica’s husband and our PYP Coordinator, Wayne, and their two boys, and two of the school’s cleaners made the job a lot more manageable and provided some company, too. After completely taking everything off the shelves, moving the furniture to clean underneath and behind it (soooo much dust and dirt!), and purging, sorting, and organizing everything, we started the redecorating process.
Feb’s room saw the biggest change, as we almost completely rearranged the furniture. The room is so much brighter and spacious now! It’s hard to even believe it’s the same room. We moved the library corner to a new space, brought in another shelf, and made it into a bigger, more open area. The tiny home corner was given a prominent place under the window, and the addition of the new furniture and toys gives it a fresh, updated look. I can’t wait to see the students’ excitement on Monday! Removing unnecessary and bulky furniture helped open up the space and allowed us to better define areas of the room.
One major change we made was moving the large, metal cabinets out of the rooms and into the wide hallway, allowing for more student space, and giving us the opportunity to clear out many of the supplies in the classrooms. The decision to make a communal resource area was a game-changer. We were able to create cabinets for paper, arts and crafts supplies, paint supplies, office supplies, and science lab resources. Now they can keep a small amount of everyday art supplies in the room, while leaving the seldom-used supplies in the cabinets for access when they need them. It’s also easy to see what they have so that they know when to reorder.
Despite being there until 6:00pm, there’s still more to do. I”ll stop by tomorrow to finish up Veronica’s room and the supply closet organization. I want to make sure it’s nice and clutter-free when the students arrive Monday morning. I seriously can’t wait to see their reactions!
What do you think of the changes?