Why not?

Let dramatic play spill over into the book area?

Tape things to the wall anywhere in the room?

Draw lines on the carpet with chalk?

Draw with paper and crayons in the block area?

Let children use the cubby area for activities during play?

Let children play my autoharp during play?


I sometimes find myself saying no to random things and after I do, I realize there was no reason to. Right off the bat this school year, the children began taking pillows from the book area and scarves from dramatic play, and using them to make a home under our new piano in the book area. My class is quite small this year, so they weren't getting in anyone's way, or bothering anyone. Actually, it was quite the opposite - there was wonderful conversation happening, and an interesting game between some boys and girls. My assistant teacher told them to put their items in the right area and "play house" in the dramatic play area. I backed her up on that decision - areas are areas, right?

But why? Our environment should be inviting, cozy, child-centered, engaging, inviting, and open to exploration. But materials should be able to drift, I think. Messes happen -- things can get cleaned up. When clean up happens, things will go back to where we know we can find them next time. I feel like I have gotten into a habit of restriction, saying no to more things than I say yes to. As an educator and the person who should be supporting learning and growth, I need to take an extra five seconds to think before making an assumption about the way things are "supposed to be".