By Pam Schaffner

The assessment team in PA is often asked if they have any tips to make meeting quality standards easier. Since they have experiences visiting many programs in their professional careers, they have seen many programs employ strategies to make things easier, more efficient, and more effective. Implementing quality can be stressful or time consuming, but always worth it. So, this Q-T Corner moment aims at helping you along the way.

Installment #13:
Making the most of classroom display

For a moment, think of a room in your home where you have things hanging on the walls. Maybe you have artwork, family photographs, holiday decorations, etc. Without being in that room, can you accurately say how many items are displayed? Maybe one of the things displayed is a family photograph. Without peeking, what color are you wearing in that photograph? Who is on your left?

If you found this task difficult, don’t worry. It is because when something is displayed for a long period of time, it starts to blend into the background. It is not looked at often; it is just there.

This can happen in our classrooms as well. Often the intention to decorate the classroom becomes overdone because we add things, but we don’t take things down. This can lead to a visually overstimulating classroom. Too much display downplays the significance of individual items.

The famous Mona Lisa painting at the Louvre Museum in Paris is only 30 inches by 21 inches (think of a 30-inch television) but it is placed on a large wall by itself. The eye is drawn to her facial expression! The empty spaces around it on the wall are intentional. Da Vinci’s painting is famous and deserves the prominence in the museum that it has.

How do we display the artwork that the children make during activities or free play? Do we display it in a way that shows the children that what they made is of great importance? What a few scribble marks is to us, is a masterpiece to them; we should make that child feel special and display their work with intentionality.

Consider having at least 75% of the classroom display be the work of the children. Display their work by placing it on their eye level; consider placing it in a frame (without the glass); and don’t crowd items together by putting too many in one spot.

If children’s work is 75% of display, the other 25% can be things purchased by the program such as diversity pictures or seasonal/holiday displays. Change displays often so they do not merely become forgetful background images like many pictures in our homes (because we forget they are there).

For a bonus, add some interactive displays so that children don’t just look at display but use it. For example, a blank wall can be a place that becomes a chalkboard or a felt board where children can draw or move pieces around. Perhaps affix cookie sheets to walls for an experience with magnets.

Use your classroom wall space to your advantage. Display children’s work and decorate to add cheer for seasons, birthdays, holidays, etc. Also, use the display for educational purposes so children are always interested in what their classroom may look like week to week.

Tags : artworkChildren's workDecorationsDisplayPhotographs

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