From the safe-entry walkway, four steps lead down to the garden level. This level is our preschool classroom. In the preschool area we have a full child-size kitchen with stove, refrigerator, sink, appliances, and an array of pretend food. We also have play dolls with beds and their accessories.
There is a large table for eating or for activities and, just as in the entry level area, this table folds up against the wall to give more space for activities. Blocks and block people are always available for use as are the rotated Montessori activities on the shelves. A large child-size sofa sits next to the bookcase that holds up to 20 books attractively displaying their covers.
In the opposite corner of the room we have a built-in L-shaped desk large enough for four children to write or draw together. This desk also has an LCD monitor sitting on it for viewing educational videos. Across from this desk is a closet full of dress-up outfits. Between the sofa and the dress-up closet is a large multi-level cage where Princess Heather, our preschool rabbit, lives.
Each child has their own cubby, coat hook, and place to put their shoes. Each child’s space is clearly labeled with their name to help in name recognition. The Shantivanam turtles, Merle and Timmie, have their terrarium in the preschool area where children can observe their activities. Also, on shelves around the room are the Diversity Dolls. Many of these dolls are nearly life-size and are used in our Character Development Program to expose the children to ethnic and physical differences in other children.
Just off the main play area is the bathroom for the children. A large step stool is in front of the sink and a wrap-around step stool surrounds the toilet. Several vertical handrails assist the children in safely climbing onto or off of the step stools. A soap dispenser and towel dispenser are at the children’s height so they can independently wash their hands. A small shelving unit in the bathroom holds individually marked cubbies so the potty-training children can pick out their own pull-up.
The Reading Room
The Reading Room is an area that is used for small group work. It is off of the Entry Level classroom but separated from those children by a lattice gate. This room includes a work table, a DVD monitor and various educational and Montessori shelf work. We use this room everyday for the older children who do not go down for a nap after lunch. We also use this room when we divide the preschool class into smaller groups for more one-on-one time with a teacher.