Monday, July 16, 2012

Why Won't They Quit Running?

My new class of two year olds had boundless energy. Run, run, run. All they did was run.  And then run some more. My mantras of "We use our walking feet when we are inside" and "Walking feet, please" fell on deaf, running ears. Why would they want to walk when running is so much more fun? And for some of the students, a new found skill. Yet, they needed to learn that running in the classroom is not safe. Plus, the older they get, the more running inside is frowned upon.

I needed to figure out a way to not have to say "Walk, please" over and over again. Because even I was starting to ignore the sound of my voice.

I planted myself in the middle of the chaos which was my classroom, and watched. I noted where the main running areas were. And looking at these areas with a small, two-year-old, perspective, it became quite clear why the running was happening. These spaces in my classroom looked like a what wide open, grassy field looks like to me - a place where you have no choice but to run.

My plan? Eliminate the inviting, wide open places. I needed more furniture.

I was introduced to the campus warehouse, from which I took several tables, a couple of shelves, and a whole kitchen set for the dramatic play area (Score!).

I then placed these new item of furniture right smack in the middle of the wide open spaces. On the furniture I placed an assortment of activities; crayons, puzzles, paper tearing, books.

The new classroom design was not aesthetically pleasing. It really made no sense to my "I need Centers and stuff" classroom mentality. However, the students no longer ran. They slowed down, and showed interest in the various activities I had out. They slowed down long enough for us to discuss the merits of walking in the classroom as opposed to running. And most important, I was no longer asking them to stop doing something; instead, they were able to start doing things. Lots of fun, interesting things. Yay!