The key to setting up a great early childhood room is to make sure there is a balance between fun and function. Everything from furniture and seating to the layout of the room should work together smoothly to produce the highest level of learning possible. The following are 4 tips for putting together an early childhood space.
Plan Ahead to Reduce Noise
Managing noise in the early learning environment can be difficult at times. Room set up should include consideration to reduce noise where possible. Carpets on the floor and soft seating can absorb sounds. Noisy activities, such as block play, can be located in transition areas or next to other activity areas of similar loudness.
Separate “Messy” Areas
There should be a distinct area for activities that involve paint, sand, water, and other items that tend to get messy. Make sure there is plenty of room for this area, washable surfaces are in place, and that it’s close to a sink or bathroom. Also, determine a space ahead of time where students will store finished art so items that are heavy with paint won’t be carried through other centers.
Create Clear Paths and Well-Defined Boundaries
After deciding what type of learning centers to use, it’s important to make sure the boundaries of each center are clearly defined. It’s also necessary to ensure the children understand the flow of traffic and the pathways that are to be taken. While space is almost always an issue in most learning areas, it’s imperative that each area is clearly separated and there is enough room to play and explore. If children feel uncomfortable or confined, they are less likely to truly engage in the learning process.
Choose Multi-Functional Furniture
Classrooms with limited space can greatly benefit from furniture that serves several purposes. Storage units provide easy access to materials for both children and teachers while serving as dividers that delineate specific areas within the room. An easel that incorporates several functions to take up the least amount of space as possible is a good choice for a reading/writing center.