If you’ve watched our videos and seen pictures over the last few months in our classroom, you have noticed that we are wearing slippers in the classroom. We’ve been getting lots of questions about this so I wanted to write this post to share the why and how of our slippers in the classroom.
One thing I want is for my students (the mustaches as I call them) is to be comfortable in our classroom. I want our classroom to be place that we love and enjoy being in all day for 180 days. It can be a challenge to make those cinder blocks and tile floors cozy but we try. So, I was reading an article about schools in Scandinavia (don’t ask which article…it was one of those things you read and store an idea way and forget it until it pops in your brain at 3:37 am…) and how they have their students wear slippers in the classroom. The reasoning is two fold: comfort and cleanliness. So, I stored that idea away until a few months ago.
Slippers In The Classroom: Why
After reading in the article about how students seem to do better when they’re more comfortable, I decided we should wear slippers in our classroom. If something as simple as wearing slippers might help my students learn and enjoy school more, then I’m all in.
Another reason, and this is huge for us, is cleanliness. This clean factor is two fold. First, we got two new gorgeous rugs donated from our friends at Alive Studios. These rugs are not only beautiful but they contain augmented reality so you can do some really cool things with these rugs. I wanted to take really good care of these rugs.
Learn more about Rugs Alive Here. (Use code SMORGIEK or SMORGIEPK at checkout and get a free Journal Alive with each purchase of more than $159)
The other reason is that we do EVERYTHING on the floor and spend our entire day on the floor so I want to keep the floor as clean as possible. We mop the floor a few times a week, we vacuum a few times a day, and we are constantly wiping down our classroom and sanitizing everything. We probably have one of the cleanest rooms around…lol. If you think about it, shoes track in lots of yuck. I am willing to bet most of us don’t wear shoes in our houses because we don’t want to track dirt into the house. Why not use that same logic in the classroom?
So here’s what happened….
I had been contemplating this slippers in the classroom idea for a while but couldn’t take the leap because I was a little nervous. Then we did our giant Candy Land review game where I turned our classroom into a giant board game. Of course, it POURED rain the morning of the game. In order to protect the game board (which is made of poster board) I had the kids take their shoes off when they came in that day. We hung out all morning in our socks. And guess what??? NOTHING HAPPENED!!!! Nothing. Except lots of giggles about our socks. That was all it took to convince me to go shoeless.
Slippers In The Classroom: The How
Here’s how it works. First, I sent home a letter asking families to send in a pair of slippers for their child. I specified that they needed to have a hard rubber sole or at least rubber grips on the bottom to prevent slipping. I had 15 of my students bring slippers so I purchased four pair on Amazon for the remaining students.
When the students arrive in the morning, they change into their slippers. They place their shoes against the wall under their cubbies.
The slippers stay on for the entire day. There is no lost instructional time switching shoes and slippers. The only two times that we change into our shoes are when we go to the gym (twice a week) and when we go to recess. Any other time we leave our slippers on and wear them just like we would our shoes. Lunch…art…music…library…assemblies…we wear our slippers. We have a restroom in the classroom so we wear our slippers. This has not been an issue at all. No one has fallen. The slippers don’t cause distractions. No teachers have issues with them. They’re just our shoes and it’s our normal.
Changing The Shoes…
We have changing our shoes and slippers down to a science. They can make the change in about 1-2 minutes. We incorporate this into our line up procedures. As we’re lining up, we change shoes. No big deal. As for the shoe tying, 99% of the time we slip our shoes off without untying them so that’s not an issue. IF a shoe needs tied, a friend jumps in and helps. So…no changing shoes all the time. No lost instructional time.
At the end of the day, we change our shoes during our dance party. The slippers go into the cubbies so they’re out of the way. Now, we have had a few instances of a few friends being in a hurry and going home in their slippers! hehe Again, no big deal. They came back to school in their slippers!
Slippers In The Classroom: Safety
I know the number one question/concern/pushback will be safety, especially fire drills. We addressed this issue by requesting hard rubber soles on the slippers or rubber grips. So when we have a fire drill, we don’t change shoes. We just evacuate the building like normal. We’ve had two fire drills in our slippers, and again, not a single issue. We got it in the same amount of time and our feet were just fine.
And just to be transparent…I did not ask for permission from administration. I just did it. And they have been 100% supportive, as has the entire faculty and staff.
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