My desk area incorporates the "BE" bulletin board that I'm finding all over the school counseling blog world (whomever came up with the original idea is a GENIUS! I believe it was Susan with Entirely Elementary blog). I acquired an ancient bookshelf that may need to be returned to its owner (thus, I can't paint it…yet!); it holds all of my reference books and binders, several "in progress" work trays, and some personal touches from home. Sitting to the left of my desk under a pretty plastic plant, I flipped an old box with removable watercolor trays on its side. It now holds my five organizational binders (individual, group. classroom, events, SWIS). Once I have my schedule confirmed, I will post a laminated weekly calendar (so I can write and erase with dry erase) next to the black poster on the wall.
By the windows, I have fantastic double sided bookshelves that split the room into two distinct sections. On the right, I have created a play space. I placed the old school wooden dollhouse on a well-loved, paint-covered IKEA coffee table that I inherited from neighbors with kids. We covered the table in green butcher paper and drew little toys and flowers! I threw down the nature themed IKEA rug I mentioned in a previous post, and created a bulletin board featuring cute animals frolicking on green with white polka dotted mountains and silver star stickers on a navy blue sky. All of my stuffed animals, puppets, play stations (cooking, travel, dress up, etc) and games are in the colorful green and blue baskets or stacked on the bookshelves (out of sight of the photo). I am hoping this area is inviting to students.
The section with the teal adirondack chairs is for students needing a quiet space. I brought these from home after my co-workers convinced me that a couch is not as hygienic! I added a rag rug and an old crocheted blanket which incorporate the color scheme. There is a little shelf with wicker baskets to hold sensory items such as squishy balls and tangles. To the right, out of the picture frame, is a bookshelf full of counseling books for students and a small CD/ radio. The calm down bulletin board is a modified version from a previous blog post; this time I added fun blue circles in different sizes.
Last week, my mentoring Little Sister visited my office to help me organize. She did a ton of work helping me rearrange furniture, setting up a treasure box (for a lesson), and consulting with me about color and decor decisions. Her biggest contribution, though, was the maze idea! I told her I needed a bulletin board that showed parents and staff the counseling services available, but was also appealing to students. She suggested a maze where students could take different paths based on what services they chose (and also suggested that one be blocked for making bad choices!). I still need to write in the services on the pathways and add a few stick figures on the left, but I love how the board turned out! Thanks, Little Sis!
Not pictured is the round table and wooden chairs (perfect for groups), an old dining room table and filing cabinet that will serve as a makeshift desk for my interns, and a corner of the room that is rather empty. I have a Nerf basketball hoop and velcro dart set which require some movement, but I am open to other ideas, as well!
I don't know if you feel the same way, but just getting the room set up makes me feel more prepared for the year. I love that the overall effect is bright and inviting, too. I look forward to seeing the joyful expressions on students' faces when they discover the new and improved counseling office!