Over the course of my university career and my internship experiences, I have grown to appreciate the concept of differentiated learning environments in the classroom. All children deserve to learn in a classroom community that fosters the learning needs of all students, and it is important as the educator to provide positive experiences for our students to learn through classroom set-up, materials, content, and overall environment of the learning space.
I was very lucky to intern in a school that began to implement differentiated instruction into the classroom. In my coop’s classroom, I was lucky to experience what it is like to be in a differentiated space for children. We did not have desks in the classroom, but rather had different spaces with tables, carpets, comfortable chairs, bean bag chairs, and pillows for sitting on. What I particularly liked about the space that we created during my internship was that it was very welcoming and inviting for students, teachers and parents. The classroom was spacious and allowed students to explore and learn in a comfortable environment that meets their needs. We had lap-trays for the students so that they could work on the floor, on a chair, on a pillow, and essentially anywhere that they wanted to work, with a hard surface to write on. If I were given the chance I would absolutely love to set-up my classroom in a similar format to that of my coop.
Below are a few of the pictures that I took of the classroom environment that I was lucky to intern in. In my future I hope that I can create a space that allows children to explore their learning in a different context.
Children have so much potential to learn, and if we teachers do not provide our students with the learning opportunities to succeed, then I believe that we are not being successful in our practice. Differentiated and inquiry based learning are phenomenal tools that allow children to explore their world in a new light.