The Idea Room At Riverview

 A few days ago I attended a workshop that was housed in a beautiful new elementary school.  The school had room called The Idea Room.  It was such an amazing space and it just made me want to spend the day exploring different materials in this space.
To start, it had a Kiln Room.  Both of my previous buildings had kilns that were stored in the boiler room, but my new building does not have a kiln at all.  I’m a bit sad about that because I’ve always done clay projects with my class.  The aprons hanging here just invite creativity!
I cook and bake quite frequently with my kindergarten class and I was envious of this cooking station in The Idea Room.  It was set up like a full kitchen for any cooking or baking project that might tie into the curriculum.

The windows.  Oh, the windows!  There is a whole wall of windows that lets in the light. It reminds me of the Ateliers in Reggio Emilia.  The learning spaces in Reggio Emilia, Italy, are always filled with light and reflection.  I could just imagine this space with a few mirrors to reflect the natural light pouring in.

There is a large over-sized sink for clean up after really messy projects.

And the art supplies… Oh, the art supplies!  This room is ready for any creative endeavor you could imagine.

I forgot to take a picture of the space as a whole, but it was filled with stainless topped tables that were ideal for any sort of messy activity.

My first thought, when walking into this room, was that every school needs to have a room like this.  Then, my dreaming went on to the next level.  Wouldn’t it be awesome if, not only did every school have an Idea Room, but they also had a designated teacher who was assigned to that room and their job was to support teachers in their endeavors to enhance learning though creativity.  I think I would be knocking people over to get in line for that job.  As a teacher, it’s SO hard to teach the curriculum of every single subject area, differentiate instruction to the needs of all kids, challenge kids who need to go beyond grade level, provide support to struggling learners, create lessons that meet the needs of the variety of different ways kids learn, and then provide meaningful opportunities to keep the learning real-life and relevant.  Wouldn’t it be awesome if the Idea Room teacher could provide that support, gather materials needed, and assist in teaching the lesson?  Honestly, when I do a painting project or special cooking activity with my class, I don’t have enough time at recess to run to the bathroom or even take a bite of my lunch.  Every spare minute of my “break” is spent setting up materials.  It’s exhausting but, as teachers, we do it for the kids.  I know I’m only dreaming, but it would be so awesome if our nation and state valued this type of education enough to fully fund it and provide learning environments, like The Idea Room, that would meet the needs of all learners. Sigh.

Coming up soon, on the blog, I’ll be sharing how to create your own Idea Room in your home, even when you don’t have the space.

Happy creating!

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