Back to preschool : getting all set up

Back to preschool : getting all set up

Over the past three weeks, I have been extremely busy setting up my classroom to get ready for our first week back to preschool. Now that things are up and running for the new school year, I am excited to get back to blogging again and sharing the things we have been up to in my classroom…

Back to Preschool by Teach Preschool

Getting my classrooms ready for preschool was quite the undertaking! Partly because I needed to almost start all over. After three years of wear and tear, my classrooms needed quite a bit of work done to get them back looking like I wanted. In addition, my enrollment has grown quite a bit so I needed to modify my classrooms to fit more students plus add one more space that we could rotate to as needed for play…

Back to Preschool by Teach Preschool

Fortunately, I had lots of help from my husband and my staff to get things all up and running in time for our first day of preschool.  Before we could set up, we needed to clean the floors really good in both my indoor and outdoor classroom and give the walls a fresh coat of paint…

Back to Preschool by Teach Preschool

Then there were cubbies and tables to build. In my small classroom space, most furniture for sale is either too large for my classroom or too small so I have to rely on my husband to build things for me but given his schedule, it also means I have to wait until he has time to build things for me…

Back to Preschool by Teach Preschool

This year, my husband helped me design and build a set of cubbies, two small tables, and an art frame for my wall…

Back to Preschool by Teach Preschool

My job was to paint everything although my husband ended up helping with much of the painting too…

Back to Preschool by Teach Preschool

We also had all of our bookshelves painted again so that they would match the trim in my classroom and feel fresh and new…

Back to Preschool by Teach Preschool

While we were in the painting mood, I even painted my dingy old white trashcan…

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And then there were things that needed fixed, like cabinet door hinges, and lightbulbs that needed changed…

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And once the shelves were built or repainted, everything needed put back or installed into the classroom in exactly the right spot…

Back to Preschool by Teach Preschool

We worked day and night to get the classroom painted and furniture ready to go and then it was time for the teachers to do their thing. We had bulletin boards to prepare…

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And teacher supply cabinets to organize…

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Canvases to hang on the wall…

Back to Preschool by Teach Preschool

Classroom centers to arrange around the classroom then set up with supplies…

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Additional “lap boards” to put together…

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Journals to prepare…

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Math bags to prepare…

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Cubby tags, labels, and all those other small endless details that go into a classroom had to be ready to go…

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And then it was time to go shopping for snack or other supplies…

Back to Preschool by Teach Preschool

Within two weeks, we had the classroom completely ready to go for our first day of preschool and I will be sharing more about each of our classroom in the coming weeks.  As of today, we just completed our first week of preschool!

Back to Preschool by Teach Preschool

So now that we have preschool up and running, I am now planning to get back into a regular routine of writing on my blog again. I apologize to those of you who are regular followers for disappearing these past two weeks but hopefully you are still following along and will find the wait all worthwhile…

Back to Preschool by Teach Preschool

For those of you on a similar schedule, have you started back to preschool yet? I would love to start this new preschool year hearing more about what is going on in your programs in the comments below!

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58 Comments

  • Debbi Posted August 29, 2014 6:44 am

    We start on Tuesday, but this is the first year, that I feel we are the most ready and the earliest! Can’t wait for the first day!

  • Shosh Posted August 29, 2014 7:25 am

    Looks great! Was wondering what a math bag is and what you put in it ?

  • Jeanne Posted August 29, 2014 7:35 am

    Tell us about the table with the do-dads….coffee can, magnets, etc.

  • Andrea Posted August 29, 2014 7:45 am

    I am wanting to start a preschool in my home, I have limited resources do you have any suggestions for me on how to get started, I have taught preschool and I have been in childcare for 13 years

  • Jody Posted August 29, 2014 7:47 am

    Thanks for the inspiration – haven’t gone back yet…but can’t wait to start another year!!

    Looking forward to your posts. Have a GREAT year all!

  • Denise Posted August 29, 2014 7:59 am

    Can you share the note you use with the math bags? I have adopted this in my classroom and wonder what you say about them?

    The room looks great! I just spent the last two weeks getting my room ready. We are in a church basement and did a lot of the extras like painting and moving furniture and reorganizing, too.

  • Michelle Hennessey Posted August 29, 2014 8:09 am

    I agree! Lots of good work preparing. I was also wondering what is in the math bag and how you implement it??

  • Sarah Posted August 29, 2014 8:11 am

    I would love to know more about the Math bags. Do you send them home weekly? What do you put in them? How do you introduce them? I want to do them for our kids next year 🙂

  • Kathy Posted August 29, 2014 8:13 am

    Welcome back! Love the fresh new layout and design! Is a section of your preschool in the basement? If so, how long do you spend down there? I have an in home daycare that is approved for basement occupancy but it seems drab without windows! 🙂

  • Molly Posted August 29, 2014 8:17 am

    I enjoy your blog so much. Your classroom is fabulous. W started back this week. We share our space, as our preschool is a church. So we have to pack up and un pack every week. I have lots of chiefs in my class and not enough Indians. Lol. I am wanting to try the flour/ baby oil mixture for the sensory table next week.

  • Teresa Posted August 29, 2014 8:20 am

    Looks great. I’m wondering how you made the discovery table in the first picture and about the math bags.

  • Emily Posted August 29, 2014 8:32 am

    Your classroom looks great! I also LOVE your math bag idea. Do you mind sharing the letter you send home to your parents? I would love to see how you explain the activity to them. Thanks so much for all the inspiration and ideas you share!

  • Chelsea Posted August 29, 2014 8:41 am

    Your classroom looks amazing! We do math bags too. We buy math kits from lakeshore and let the kids take them home. We also do back pack reading which allows the child to take a book home from our “library.” I was wondering about those journals? Do you like them? Do the children end up coloring on every page?? I usually give them a paper and then add it to a three ring folder. It’s a lot of work and am thinking of trying the already put together journal approach this year. We start Wednesday! 🙂 love your blog

  • Peggy Posted August 29, 2014 8:58 am

    Looks awesome! Can’t wait to see it in action!

  • Cindy Posted August 29, 2014 8:59 am

    Hi Deborah,
    Your classrooms look beautiful. Hope you had a great first week of preschool. I have been busy too cleaning and sprucing things up for the new year. Here in MI we have a new licensing rule that only allows 20% of your classroom walls to have decorations so that has been challenging to edit some of my beautiful multicultural decorations.

    I also wondered how you use the math bags – is it something you send home for reinforcement of a concept? Also, what do you use your lapboards for?

    I’m looking forward to more fabulous ideas from you this year!
    Cindy

  • Carol Posted August 29, 2014 9:16 am

    Your class looks wonderful !

  • Christine Posted August 29, 2014 10:11 am

    I teach 4 year olds in a public school setting. My kids start back in about a week. I found your site last year and embrace many of your ideas. I am curious about the canvases on the wall. Look forward to your future posts.

  • Rita Posted August 29, 2014 10:13 am

    I have taught preschool for 26 years, never grow tired of the little children and all the ways to expand their world. I teach in a shared space, in our church. I highly recommed the CDA Classes and Credential. Keeps all teachers in tune with the best for our kids. Love the site.

  • Nadia Posted August 29, 2014 3:08 pm

    Looks great Deborah! I started teaching again too, after 4 years of raising my own at home. Here is a post on how we do Preschool here in South Africa, just for interest sake;)
    http://www.teach-me-mommy.com/2014/08/day-south-african-preschooler.html

  • Isabel Z Posted August 29, 2014 6:46 pm

    If I lived in your state, I’d be lined up the door with my resume in hand. What a wonderful environment you have set up for learning and a place where students and teachers enjoy being. I too would love to hear about the math bags and lap boards. Have a wonderful school year and I look forward to your posts.

  • Erika Posted August 29, 2014 8:09 pm

    Last April I switched jobs because I wanted to relocate and I moved from PreK to toddlers in an EHS class. We just found out that very soon we will move to a new building so I will have a whole new space to plan, set-up and decorate! We start class Sept 8 so I am preparing for that as well. Two room set ups in a short period of time. Whew!

  • Sandra Oram Posted August 29, 2014 8:38 pm

    I always love putting the ‘new year’ touches to my classroom every single year… Congratulations you have done a mighty effort – enjoy your school new year. In Australia ours is still going…..

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted August 29, 2014 10:42 pm

    Thank you Sandra! I hope the rest of your school year is outstanding!

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted August 29, 2014 10:43 pm

    It is soooo much work but when it is all done, it feels so inspiring and rewarding!

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted August 29, 2014 10:53 pm

    You can view this post that gives an overview of our math bags from previous years or type “math bags” in the search bar on the upper right hand side of my blog to view more. I will be sharing more on them this year too! http://www.teachpreschool.org/2011/09/our-take-home-math-bags-in-preschool/

    As far as lap boards go – I call them different names depending on my use such as counting boards. They are essentially mini DIY felt boards. See this post and scroll down just a bit to read more about our use of these boards. http://www.teachpreschool.org/2014/01/ten-fun-ways-to-use-a-flannel-board/

    I hope that helps and you have a wonderful school year too!

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted August 29, 2014 10:54 pm

    Thank you for sharing Nadia!

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted August 29, 2014 10:57 pm

    Hi Christine,
    I will share more about the blank canvases on the wall as we go along. But to get you pointed in the right direction, the blank canvasses are waiting for the children to add color or design to them. The goal of staring with a blank canvas is to create a classroom environment where the children’s work is what fills the spaces on our walls rather than items a teacher may buy or create. I hope that helps!

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted August 29, 2014 10:57 pm

    Thank you Carol:)

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted August 29, 2014 11:01 pm

    Oh my goodness, I had not heard of this rule!

    You can view this post that gives an overview of our math bags from previous years or type “math bags” in the search bar on the upper right hand side of my blog to view more. I will be sharing more on them this year too! http://www.teachpreschool.org/2011/09/our-take-home-math-bags-in-preschool/

    As far as lap boards go – I call them different names depending on my use such as counting boards. They are essentially mini DIY felt boards. See this post and scroll down just a bit to read more about our use of these boards. http://www.teachpreschool.org/2014/01/ten-fun-ways-to-use-a-flannel-board/

    I hope that helps and you have a wonderful school year too it sounds like you are well on your way!

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted August 29, 2014 11:03 pm

    Hi Chelsea,
    I love these journals. I don’t know if this post will help but check it out…http://www.teachpreschool.org/2013/04/ten-tips-for-keeping-a-journal-in-preschool/

    We teach the children how to start at the beginning (like reading a book) and then go on to the next page. We even sometimes number each page as we go along.

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted August 29, 2014 11:05 pm

    You are a brave woman to start with the flour baby oil sensory!! Packing up and unpacking is a big challenge too! Woah!

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted August 29, 2014 11:06 pm

    Just the dramatic play area is now in my basement for the first year. Each class uses it one day per week. The rest of the week we use the indoor and outdoor classrooms which are not in my house.

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted August 29, 2014 11:06 pm

    You can view this post that gives an overview of our math bags from previous years or type “math bags” in the search bar on the upper right hand side of my blog to view more ways we use math bags. I will be sharing more on them this year too! http://www.teachpreschool.org/2011/09/our-take-home-math-bags-in-preschool/

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted August 29, 2014 11:06 pm

    You can view this post that gives an overview of our math bags from previous years or type “math bags” in the search bar on the upper right hand side of my blog to view more. I will be sharing more on them this year too! http://www.teachpreschool.org/2011/09/our-take-home-math-bags-in-preschool/

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted August 29, 2014 11:10 pm

    Sounds like we have both been doing the same thing! It has been such a busy time! My math bag letter is very simple. I will try to post a short blurb about math bags soon and include what I tell the parents in the post.

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted August 29, 2014 11:11 pm

    Thank you Jody!

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted August 29, 2014 11:11 pm

    I will try to share more on math bags including what I tell the parents very soon!

  • Amanda Mason Posted August 30, 2014 12:18 am

    I’m glad to see that you are back at it! Your classrooms and look amazing, as usual. You are seriously the preschool teacher that all aspire to be. You should offer a workshop where teachers can come and observe and just soak up more of how you do things and your space, because it is so inspiring. I would make the trip from Oregon! What lucky kids! We will start our 3rd year of preschool on the 2nd and I am excited to implement things I have learned and just to do better, we are an outdoor school so our classroom is in the barn and we are out in all sorts of weather. When I first started following your blog, I was just beginning and I wanted it to be everything (meaning perfection like yours) immediately. Well obviously that wasn’t possible but we have taken big strides and constantly expanding and improving. Thank you so much for all of your help along the way! I look forward to hearing more about this new year.

  • Danica Posted August 30, 2014 1:02 am

    We start Wednesday! I have to say a huge THANK YOU to you and this blog you have made. You have no idea how much of an impact you have made on our preschool! Every idea we find out here our kids have loved and it has been such a huge help in planning out our units. We always turn here first. Hope your year goes great 🙂

    (we are also interested in what you put in the Math Bag parent letter!)

  • LaQuetha Posted August 30, 2014 9:58 am

    I am so glad you are back for a second I thought maybe you had decide to stop blogging. Your classroom looks amazing. I can’t wait to see your children explore the room. I just had my first week of school – it was a fun, busy, lots of exploring but I am one tired teacher. Getting read to head up to the room to do a little rearranging and changing some things. It was a great first week of school.

  • Scott Posted August 30, 2014 1:41 pm

    Deborah, the space looks great. I’m sure you will have some exciting learning experiences in your “freshened up” space. It’s so inviting, it makes me want to drive up on a field trip to see it in person. Hope your year is great!

  • Michelle Stanfield Posted August 30, 2014 11:36 pm

    Can you give a little more detail on what the lap boards are for and what’s in your math bags along with the “my math bag” by them

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted September 1, 2014 4:30 am

    I will be writing on both the math bags and the lap boards soon! In the mean time you can see this past post on math bags: http://www.teachpreschool.org/2011/09/our-take-home-math-bags-in-preschool/

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted September 1, 2014 4:31 am

    Hey Scott,
    Well you know the invitation to come and stay here is always open. It’s not too far of a drive so come on up!!

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted September 1, 2014 4:32 am

    I understand tired. I have spent the entire summer recovering from three years of blogging and classroom work. I think I am about to get my feet back under me so I can blog regularly again. I did need a break though! I hope you have a very, very good preschool year!

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted September 1, 2014 4:33 am

    Hi Danica,
    Thank you so much for that sweet comment. It is little things like this that keep me motivated to continue writing as much as possible. I will share an update to the math bags ASAP!

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted September 1, 2014 4:35 am

    Hi Amanda,
    An outdoor classroom in a barn sounds incredible! I would love to come and see it sometime!!! Well there is no such thing as perfection and although I don’t consider myself a perfectionist, I tend to over think everything!!! Give yourself time to build your program and continue to tweak it as you go along. I have learned so much since I started my own preschool four years ago and am constantly changing and tweaking! I hope you have an amazing preschool year!

  • Emily Posted September 1, 2014 9:58 am

    That would be great! I would love to add a math bag to my weekly math activities, but would love to see how you explain it to the parents. Thanks Again!

  • Amanda Mason Posted September 1, 2014 5:36 pm

    You are always welcome here!! Thank you!

  • Kelli Posted September 1, 2014 11:42 pm

    Can I ask where you buy your math bags at?

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted September 2, 2014 12:53 am

    I have found them at the dollar tree and the Walmart 🙂

  • Isabel Z Posted September 5, 2014 2:17 pm

    Thank you for explaining the lap boards in another post.

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted September 6, 2014 8:26 pm

    You are welcome:)

  • Chayo Laca Posted September 7, 2014 7:38 pm

    I was lucky enough to have stumbled on your website two years ago and I LOVE you!!!! I love what you did with your classroom, I wish I lived near by to be able to come and learn from you personally. Thank you for all your wonderful postings, I use lots of what you post.
    I open my email daily anticipating what teach preschool has posted.
    I love you, your new classroom and all your insights.
    Keep posting and happy Sunday.

  • Ruth Flores Posted September 9, 2014 9:08 am

    Where can I buy the small chairs?

  • Anne-Marie Posted September 10, 2014 10:56 pm

    That certainly was a busy 2 weeks – and how lucky that your husband helped so much. I can’t believe you got that much done, and still had time to take pictures along the way. Happy new school year!

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted September 13, 2014 10:29 am

    I have had mine for several years. My small folding chairs came from stores like Walgreens and Big Lots but you just have to watch for them.

  • Brittney Posted October 13, 2014 3:30 pm

    These classrooms look great! It is so important to have your materials for the classroom as well as enough space to accommodate all of your children comfortably. Great job.

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