Having every person represented in all aspects of their classroom is important to the Chickadees. They want children to feel they are in a safe space, their voices matter, and take pride in their culture and individuality. It's not just a classroom, it's like their second home as they spend the majority of their day at the centre.
Inside their classroom are the Chickadees’ own personal cubbies, each labeled with their names and photos. They take their own clothes if they need to be changed or put away their nap toys themselves. By the door is a step stool the children use to reach the baskets above their lockers. They have an art gallery celebrating their birthdays, featuring a collection of collaborative paintings. They even record their height by a wall so they can see how much they grew over a period of time.
Above their table where the Chickadees eat together is a chandelier composed of the children’s and staffs’ family pictures. By their classroom door is a shelf with each child’s portfolios, a binder of memories with photos, artwork, and learning stories from their time as a Chickadee. The Chickadees can easily get their portfolios and spend time reading them with their families before going home.
Advocating for environmental sustainability is something the Chickadee room strongly values. Their actions have created an impact even outside of their room by asking families to bring in items for recycling like applesauce pouches, pens, markers, batteries, and more. They also collaborated with one of our families to introduce vermicomposting to the centre.
The Chickadees are always made part of any room enhancements and documentation, providing them the opportunity to have their voices be heard and respected. They take frequent trips to the laundry room to pick out new toys and loose parts, as well as putting away materials they are done using so other groups can use them. Their projects are displayed all around the room, placing importance to their work and creating a sense of pride. You will see their drawings hanging from the windows, art installations suspended from the ceiling and hanging mobiles made up of their photos during play.
To promote language and literacy into their classroom, the Chickadees created their own alphabet boards by gluing small materials on top of the letter outline. The letters are permanently displayed in their room. Multiple languages are celebrated in the Chickadee room as well. One Chickadee teaches others how to say words in Spanish as well as the proper pronunciation, from colours to simple phrases. To expand this teachable moment, her family filled out a list of objects found in the classroom in Spanish. During lunch time, Devinder also teaches the Chickadees how to say phrases in Punjabi.
The Chickadees love to listen to music so Heather asked all families for a list of songs the Chickadees like to listen to at home. Afterwards, a playlist was created on Spotify using those songs. Their current favourite is a Spanish song called “Veo Veo.” You can catch the Chickadees singing along to parts of the chorus every time it plays.
The Chickadees' next plan is to decorate a pillar outside of their classroom with photos embracing their culture and individuality. This way, they can share their social identity with the rest of the centre.
Through various forms of representation, the Chickadees promote diversity, positive self-identity, creativity, independence, empathy, and a strong community. This is what makes representation one of the main blocks in building a strong foundation for the Chickadee community.
Blog by: Heather & Rosel