“You sure do have a lot of free time at school!” That may be a parent's reaction to their child’s description of their day. There is a lot of FREEDOM here at Bella Natura—freedom of movement and choices. Time and space management is largely determined by the children. Often, they are able to choose to work on the couch, at a group desk, or at an individual table instead of being told to stay at “their” desk—they don’t even have a desk!
However, within that freedom is embedded a lot of STRUCTURE. I have high expectations in regards to RESPECT. Respect for each other, the classroom and classroom materials, using their time wisely, and making good choices when they are given free time. The second week of school this year, we wrote paragraphs describing what goals the students have for their time here at school this year. I want them to take ownership of their learning and become life-long learners. Giving free time after lunch gives students opportunities to interact with their “3rd teacher”. This is the REGGIO concept of the environment being the 3rd teacher, the parent being the 1st teacher, and me being the 2nd teacher.
I have many important goals for my students, but three of them are: to improve self-control, increase self-regulation, and for students to get in touch with their own gifts, talents, and interests. Those valuable life goals would not be met if the students’ 2nd teacher always told them what to do and how to do it!