Dr. Rebecca Isbell’s Blog

The PreK conference in Alabama was fabulous.  It was well organized, interesting, and filled with amazing early childhood professionals.  The folks who attend my preconference session were so involved and a pleasure to talk with.

One of the questions that came up during the training was, “How can new learning centers be included in my classroom when it is so small?”   As I travel and present on environments that include learning centers, I frequently hear this concern.  One of the best ways to add a new learning center in a “filled” classroom is to transform a traditional learning center. 

A Home Living Center can become a Restaurant for a short period of time, two to three weeks.  When the children lose interest in the Restaurant, you can return the space to the traditional center of Home Living.  The Block Center, a traditional and long-term center in many classrooms, can become a Garage Sale/Flea Market temporarily.  The block area has many props that can be used to display the new items that are added for sale.

Making these transitions and adding new interest centers will stimulate young children’s thinking, their socio-dramatic play, and their skills for cooperative work.

Tell us about a transition that has worked in your classroom.  What area did you add and what props were included in your new learning center? 

Designing Amazing Environments for Young Children

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Al PreK Conference – Dr. Isbell with teachers who attended her full day workshop on Designing Amazing Environments for Young Children.

Learning Centers

Classroom setup and structure are critical elements in teaching and controlling behavior and student interactions. What do you need to know? What are the best practices? How might rearranging your classroom help you?

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Radio Interview on Body, Mind and Child

Creativity New Headlines

Today I am entering my first blog on the topic of creativity in young children. For many years I have read everything that has come out on the amazing abilities of young children. One of their most astounding skills is their creative thinking.

E.P. Torrance concluded that we are most creative when we are “4 ” years old. This might be discouraging for some of us who are older than 4, but if we work with young children, we see examples of their creative abilities every day. The child who invents a new word, or a child painting with a feather, or a child composing and singing a new song are all examples of creative children in action.

Today it seems that many people are more interested in the “right” answer, or doing things in a specific way rather than thinking in creative ways. But creative thinkers are needed to deal with our fast changing world, to create new inventions, and deal with issues never before encountered. We in early childhood must strive to build children’s confidence in their thinking and inspire their creative ideas.


Toddlers painting with watercolors

Toddlers painting with watercolors


How do we spark creativity in our classrooms? There are so many different ways that we can impact the development of creativity. One powerful way is by provding children choices throughout the day – which Center to work in, the materials to use in a collage, or the way to dramatize a story. The environment can also impact creativity by including beautiful displays, unique treasures to explore, and a place to keep special projects to revisit.

It is interesting to note that creative teachers have the most creative children in their classroom—-not a surprise is it?

Let me know something you have done in your early childhood classroom to encourage your budding artists and creative thinkers. Everyday dedicated teachers are doing wonderful things that nurture creativity in their classsroom. Let’s start celebrating these ideas!