Engaging pre-schoolers in every lesson is as important as the material being taught. Pre-school children need the right environment for focusing and learning. The classroom setup must have a logical flow and must be easy to keep organized. Follow these tips to create an effective and creative pre-school classroom.
- Let the children help - Let the children be a part of the classroom setup and organization. If they feel ownership, they are more likely to stay involved with keeping up the classroom.
- Use colors and/or numbers for various areas - Create a color or number code for the room to designate areas for certain activities. Be sure that the colors or numbers you choose don’t also mean anything else. For example, if you have a red reading area, the color red should not also indicate a poor grade or behavior day.
- Vary seating options - Vary the style of classroom seating in your setup. Place different types of seating to indicate where they are to listen vs where they are to interact. Foam furniture for preschool classrooms is always a hit with the kids.
- Open vs closed spaces - Create open spaces for group interactions and semi-private spaces for reading or naptime. The semi-private spaces need to be open enough for the teacher to have a good view of all of the students, but should provide a little bit of alone feel to the student to avoid distractions from others. Use a sheer cloth over a nap area or use short bookcases for a dividing wall or hang pictures drawn by the students at varying heights to create a fake wall.
- Bring outside inside - There are plenty of times throughout the year that the children may not be able to play outside due to weather. Inspire children with an outdoor themed section of your classroom. Avoid taking actual trees, plants and other items from outdoors as they may have bugs and bring in dirt. Instead, create the outdoor inside space using paintings of outdoors, fake trees and plants, and include a small slide or other item normally found on the playground.
- Multi-purpose spaces - Use chalkboard paint in a different area of the classroom and have special lessons every so often in the other area of the room. Allow children to teach each other in that area or use it to be creative. Use tables in your classroom that can be used for different activities from group play to individual learning. Be creative with the furniture you have. If possible, be sure to invest in furniture that moves easily and can be stored in small spaces easily. This will allow you to open up and fill the room quickly for different activities.