I think I spend as much time planning and thinking and writing outside of the classroom as I spend interacting with children in the classroom. In the past three weeks I have been writing constantly, and trying my best to get a feel for the space so that I can make the environment engaging and inviting.
The children have not been confused by a few things changing each day as we try different arrangements out to see how they feel. With some new things for the classroom, we'll make some final decisions, and that feels good. I have been mapping for weeks, getting ideas at the most random times.
I do believe that the environment is the third teacher, and the children's thinking and work should be celebrated and documented in the space. This plan is meant to give children different kinds of spaces for their work and make the classroom theirs - less rules, more interaction and engagement. I don't want the children to feel like it is a teacher's space; I want to say "no" less. In Reggio Emilia, the teachers refer to the environment as the third teacher; that says a lot. I don't take the planning of a space lightly.
I'm looking forward to sharing more about our environment as it progresses. In the meantime, take a look at our gigantic chair! I have to admit that I did not like it when I got into the classroom - it seemed like a novelty item, really. But it has about a million uses, and it is very popular. And it is definitely too big to move out of the room, so it will stay.