At the beginning of each school year, I see Instagram perfect pictures of beautifully decorated kindergarten classrooms. I always look at these images in awe and wonder how educators have put together such beautiful rooms for their students. Do you find yourself comparing your own kindergarten classroom themes to these social media posts?
I have some strong feelings about using themes for your classroom, and I go in-depth for all my reasons to not have one. Listen to my reasons why, and reflect on your own practices in the classroom. Then, leave me a comment to tell me how you feel!
Student Voice in the Classroom Environment
One of the most important aspects of the kindergarten classroom space is ensuring that your students feel that they are a part of a community and that they are welcome. As educators, we can make sure that every child is honoured in our classroom by allowing their voices to be the center of a classroom space – not a theme.
Take a look at the back-to-school bulletin board that was co-created with my students a few years ago. This held so much more meaning for them than one that I would have created myself. Letting students have agency in their own space is important to creating a sense of belonging for them.
Using QR codes in the classroom environment is another great way to allow your students’ voices to be (literally) heard and highlighted in their space. Think about other ways that you can honour the students (and families) that are in your room.
Kindergarten Classroom Themes
Should you have a theme in kindergarten? In my experience, no. There are a few reasons I believe this:
- Your money can be better spent on materials that will have a more significant impact on your students.
- Use the classroom as the third teacher and prioritize students’ needs in the space.
- It can be wasteful re-making kindergarten classroom theme items every year.
- You want your students to feel connected to this space as they learn, a theme does not make that happen.
What can you do instead? Start with some blank walls and spaces, and let your students fill them with pictures, paintings and images. You can also have tools available to them that will aid in their learning throughout the year (sight words, numbers, etc.) Then, let your students decide what they would like in their space!
In summary, having a theme for your classroom does not dictate your worth as a kindergarten educator and you definitely don’t need one.
Let me know in the comments what your thoughts and opinions are on kindergarten classroom themes!