My classroom is a kindergarten classroom. For the great majority of the year it is busy with twenty little five or six-year-olds. I hope, and think, I am highly thoughtful about the items in our classroom and the way the space is organized. That said, I’ve only taught kindergartners for one year so I still have a lot to learn and think about.
Recently I’ve had conversations with several people I respect that have me thinking about one thing in our classroom. The first conversation involved a colleague questioning the existence of kitchens in our kindergarten classrooms. I wasn’t totally sold on my classroom kitchen last year as it was often the craziest place in our classroom when kids were there. (I do realize that what should have resulted from this observation was a greater involvement in this area on my part. I failed at that. Typically, during this time, I was working with individuals or small groups, in my defense!)
I mentioned this conversation to a counselor friend who immediately defended the kitchens. Later, she mentioned that she would accept kitchens leaving kindergarten classrooms if they were replaced by dollhouses. My gut response was that I would prefer a dollhouse over the kitchen. Another good friend mentioned how much he preferred kitchens over dollhouses as a kid.
I’m now wondering several things. Why do (did?) I prefer a dollhouse over a kitchen? I think a dollhouse feels more open, as if it offers more opportunities for imaginative play. But is that true? Is having a kitchen or dollhouse important in a kindergarten classroom? Why?
Image from Robert's flickr stream