As I have mentioned before, I am heavily influenced by both the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education and by my Montessori training and background. With that said, I am adamant that the majority of decor in my classroom be child-created, not commercially produced. I want their artwork to be a featured part of our classroom aesthetic.
I have four bulletin boards in the classroom. Instead of using bright fabric or paper to cover them, I chose tan burlap fabric as a background for each bulletin board. I used burlap ribbon purchased at Hobby Lobby for the borders. I will not change these bulletin boards for the entire school year, other than changing the artwork the children make or the photos of our classroom activities. The background and border will remain the same.
I know that many of you are used to the bright colors that are traditional in early childhood settings. And perhaps, you will be turned off at the thought of using neutrals as a background and reducing (or eliminating) the amount of commercially produced materials on your walls and bulletin boards. If so, please look at the photo below. In this photo, you can easily see that it is the individual artwork made by the children that draws your eye to this space. By making the background neutral and not busy and by backing each piece of artwork with a black "mat", the children's artwork pops. Your eye is naturally drawn to the color, texture and form of their creations. No distracting smiling apples or school buses, just beautiful, unique artwork.
You cannot see it well in the photo, but the little pieces of art were created on small squares of cardboard cut from cereal boxes. We put out a variety of collage materials and allowed the children to glue to their hearts' delight. This gallery wall will change throughout the year. When they create new pieces of art, we will ask them if they would like to take their artwork home or add it to the gallery wall. This is one of my favorite places to look at in the entire classroom.