This year at the NAEYC Annual Conference I had the delight of meeting Sandra Duncan. It was exciting because I love her book Inspiring Spaces for Young Children.

Sandra is such an inspiration!  She shared an amazing perspective shift in her session. Here's a sneak preview!

Ready?!   You may think we use containers in our classrooms to hold things, to tote things . . . you know. . . contain all of those loose parts.

But Sandra challenges that notion. She asserts that is not the true purpose of containers.


Hum.  So what is the purpose of classroom containers?


Sandra asserts the purpose of a container is to attract children to its contents!

Do you hear what I hear?   I am so hearing “the third teacher” being put to work.


Think about it.

What if you looked at each container in your classroom and asked yourself:

“Is this container an invitation to explore?  create?  construct?”

“What does this container invite?”


  This is not only a practical application of the third teacher – it is transformational!

Take this action step!   Survey your classroom containers.  Which ones invite?  Which ones are just holders and totes?