Preschool and second-grade students at Mount Paran Christian School recently enjoyed a special surprise when teachers transformed the classrooms into completely new environments.

Classroom themes including a greenhouse, an ocean world and a campground were designed to engage students in an innovative way. The inspiration came from MPCS staff professional development courses on environment and student engagement lead by PreK Director Shea Buehler and Tawanna Rusk, High School Head.

The second-grade team completed their task by transforming a pod outside of the classroom into a working greenhouse. They focused on life cycles and plant growth. The Kindergarten team transformed the classroom into Camp Kindergarten. They had speakers come in to talk about camping, participated in camp crafts and researched safe camping procedures. The preschool staff transformed the entire Sewell Cottage. PK3 rooms explored a camping theme, while the PK4 transformed their class into an ocean world. To complete the preschool STEAM exploratory class and to take the engaging environment outside of the traditional classroom, Mrs. Frizzle from “The Magic School Bus,” (Mrs. Buehler in disguise) stopped by on a bus to pick up the PK students for an “outta-this-world” adventure.

Other rooms were transformed into Winter Wonderland, SpyLab and Space theme. The learning engagement technique is meant to help students think outside the box while still teaching valuable lessons. For example, the SpyLab room transformation addressed grammar skills. Students became detectives to find the proper subject/verb agreement, punctuation errors, the proper use of quotations and a host of other concepts.

The purpose of the project was to create a sense of wonder, expectancy and curiosity in the students by transforming their normal learning environment. The change of surroundings was intended to allow students to engage differently, focus more and inspire rigorous thinking.

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