Working with children to create a vision for the learning environment is a powerful activity. The act of collaborating on the task helps children develop a sense of ownership and investment in their daily experiences. They can begin to recognize their responsibilities to their peers and how their choices contribute to the sense of community in the classroom.
Vision building with children should be added to the task of determining classroom expectations. In other words, before you make the rules, agree on what kind of learning environment you want to have.
Start by having conversations during mealtimes with small groups of students. Discuss the meaning of the word “vision” as it relates to being able to see using your eyes and your imagination. During a large group discussion, ask children to share what they remember about the word vision. If the program has a vision statement, share it with the children. Engage in a conversation with children about what they want to experience when they enter the classroom. You can prompt these discussions by asking some of the following questions:
- What is your favorite thing about coming to school?
- What are some things that make you feel excited or happy at school?
- What things make you sad or mad about being at school?
- How do you feel when you have a good day at school?
- How do you feel when you have a bad day at school?
- What can we do to make sure everyone has a good day at school?
Record the children’s answers on chart paper. Use the lists to guide the next discussion, where you will work with children to create a vision for your classroom. This process may take several days to complete.
The age and abilities of the children in your group will determine how you proceed from this point. You may ask older children to work in small groups to write down some ideas they would like to contribute to a vision statement. Bring groups together to share their ideas and vote on the elements that should be included in the vision statement. Help children recognize similarities in statements and broaden language to include as many ideas as possible.
With younger children, you may need to turn their answers to the questions above into a few sample vision statements that children can vote on. Say something like, “I’ve been thinking a lot about the lists we created the other day and it seems to me that you want to come to school each day to play and be happy. It looks like you have a vision of our classroom as a safe and happy space where everyone can grow and learn.”
Children may not have much to add to the statement, but ask for input anyway. Encourage children to tell you if they agree with the statement. Write the statement on a large piece of paper and post it in the room. Refer to it often and revise it as necessary. Use the vision statement to create the class rules with the children. Say, “If we all agree that our classroom is a place where all children are safe to play and explore, what rules must we have to make sure this happens every day?”
For the main article Creating Vision Statements, CLICK HERE
For the article Vision Setting with Children, CLICK HERE
For the article Vision Setting with Families, CLICK HERE
For the article Program Vision Setting, CLICK HERE