In the context of early years education, a resource room is a special space that is dedicated to facilitating conceptual learning and developing foundational skills of learning. A great deal of learning in preschools happens for children through an exploration of their environment and materials available to them. Resource rooms are thought of as an extension, a creative space in the preschools and can exist as a separate classroom in the grade schools. It can range from a small room to a large room divided into several working spaces such as imaginative-play area, reading corner, gross and fine motor activity area and so on.
Why Resource Room?
Most educators stand by the philosophy that an early years setting is ideally an extension of a home-like environment. Hence, it is typically not over-furnished with desks and tables nor cluttered with too many wall charts. It is a space that is carefully and creatively balanced with good lighting, minimal or adaptive furniture, consciously chosen play-based materials and learning aids that will nourish the child’s senses and drape them in exploration because young children learn best through exploration!
Tracing alphabets or numbers in the sand in a play space, using magnetic letters, drawing or writing on smaller whiteboards, doing picture puzzles or building wooden models, reading books in a reading corner are all examples of how children can be given an opportunity to do a typical classroom work in enjoyable and engaging ways. A role-play or imaginative play area with pretend play materials, a musical area with small musical play instruments are all foundational for a wholistic learning and developmental experience. A sensory or calming corner with dim lights can be created as an inclusive space for children with special needs.
Gross motor and fine motor skills are foundational pre-requisite skills for writing and hence resources can be allocated for activities such as cutting, pasting, coloring, beading, and others that require handwork. Balance boards, therapy or yoga ball and other materials that promote balance/kinaesthetic skills can be added to the resource room.
Thinking out of the box and making the best use of materials is the key to success
Teachers or school establishments can consciously choose good quality learning aids and materials. Wooden and fabric materials come from a natural source and hence they are more sustainable and durable. There are many commercially available learning aids that are designed thoughtfully. However, teachers can create learning aids or adapt existing learning aids using materials that are more economical. Teachers can add and rotate between theme-based, curriculum-based, season-festival based and concept-based materials in addition to the core learning aids.
Resource rooms typically have a purposefulness of expanding and enhancing a regular classroom experience and hence it requires to be very well organized to make it easy and productive for both students and teachers.
Students can be divided into groups, inclusive of all children and encouraged to collaboratively work in a resource room or work independently or with a teacher depending upon the needs of the children in the classroom. Some resource rooms make use of dividers as barriers to contain distractions and to create small working stations for students.
Teachers and school establishments require sensitization towards creating a resource room, consciously and purposefully choosing learning aids. Unfortunately, resource rooms are only a show in some schools and are not being used productively due to several challenges.
Training and collaboration with expert resource personnel / remedial teachers, special education teachers, school psychologists, and other experts will prove beneficial and make the process easier and effective.
Parents are considered to be equally important team members in the ongoing activities and evaluation of children in the resource room as they have the most reliable knowledge about their child’s abilities and weaknesses. They have the right to question and know more about how the resource room is providing for their child’s needs.
A collaborative mindset is beneficial to all and some of the best practices around the world in using resource rooms are being proved to be a boon, to all children when used in an inclusive manner. So, we can begin by saying ‘yes’ to having a resource room and making efforts to make it useful to all children.
If you are looking at setting up a Resource room, you may contact PFLA at firstname.lastname@example.org
www.pfla.in / http://colours.pfla.in
Please await more on Resource Room in the next blog, coming soon.
Author of this blog… Anjana Sathyabodha
Speech-Language Pathologist & NLP Coach
Email ID: email@example.com