Emerson School for Preschoolers is comprised of fours spaces specifically designed to encourage exploration, enhance learning, and support play: the Monkey Room, the Middle Room, the Monet Room and the Woodland Playground.
THE MONKEY ROOM
The Monkey Room is a bright open room at the far end of Emerson Alley. Its large windows overlook the playground and the woods beyond. The windowsill is lined with books that are rotated to reflect the season, student's current interests, and the different levels of emerging literacy. In the Fall you might find a welcoming branch of dried leaves just inside the door. In the Spring there may be an incubator with eggs waiting to hatch. On the walls there are often children's photographs and quotations.
The Monkey Room is used as a gathering space where all the children and teachers come together throughout the school day. During Circle Time and Greeting Circle students and teachers sit on the room's large rug to make plans for the day, discuss activities, share stories, and express their ideas and feelings. There is ample space to spread out and listen to a story or get up and move, sing, and dance! On rainy or cold days the Monkey Room can really warm up with obstacle courses and movement game!
THE MIDDLE ROOM
The Middle Room is just that, as it is tucked between the Monkey Room and the Monet Room. It is a space filled with discovery, life, and light. The space changes and evolves throughout the year to reflect the interests and explorations of the students. The block corner offers a multitude of blocks and lots of space where children can build: perhaps a forest for woodland creatures, a castle for a king and queen, or a barn for farm animals, the possibilities are endless. In the housekeeping area children may be found taking orders at a restaurant, playing dress-up, or even putting on a puppet show. Work tables in this room are set up with a wide variety of changing materials including puzzles, pattern blocks and Legos. The water table can be found filled with bubbles, snow, or just soothing water. The sensory table is a popular place where children can be found sifting through sand or rice, sorting through pompoms, or finding hidden treasures under fabric or logs. Like all spaces at Emerson, the Middle Room feels very connected to the natural world with it's large low windows. Students can observe the dappled sunlight of Fall, the first Winter snowflakes, a Spring shower, or watch with curiosity as the squirrels and birds help themselves to the feeders.
THE MONET ROOM
The Monet Room is named after the artist Claude Monet who is quoted as saying "It's on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly". This is certainly a room for observation and reflection not to mention digging and delving. The Monet Room serves as the students art studio. It is a space to look together for answers to children's questions and to encourage them to show us their thinking. An easel is always available with carefully prepared paints and paper, the mudworks table offers different types of clay for modeling, and the drawing/writing table has ample paper and a collection of drawing tools. By the window is a table for "Beautiful Stuff," flanked by shelves within easy reach where an abundance of art supplies can be found. Students are free to explore and create with all the materials at hand. Science and nature can be found on the discovery shelves where children can use a magnifying glass to examine seashells, leaves, rocks, or sticks as they dig and delve a bit further. A research area equipped with a changing collection of books on topics of interest is nearby. The math shelf may hold number puzzles, uni-fix cubes with numbers trays, counting cups and attribute shapes. A cozy reading corner offers soft pillows, a couch and a rug. Here students are invited to take time to curl up with a book alone, with a teacher, or with a friend.
THE WOODLAND PLAYGROUND
Outside the classroom windows, and out the doors at the end of Emerson Alley the students enter into the Woodland Playground. The playground is bordered on one side by an ever changing stream which can be observed and crossed by a bridge that leads to an observation deck. The deck has inspired many imaginative adventures from sailing on a ship, fishing in a creek, or being a treetop hideaway.
The Woodland Playground is currently in a state of transformation as we transition to a natural playground. Elements in the space will now include an art area, music area, a stage, a loose parts and construction area, a playhouse and mud kitchen, a dry river bed and bridge, an enlarged sand play area as well as open space for running and group games. The playground is used daily, weather permitting. Students will see the leaves change color in the Fall, create snow creatures in the Winter, and smell the fresh earth of Spring during their school year/s at Emerson.