Just as important as the furnishings and supplies in your early childhood classroom are the ways in which you choose to place and organize them. The right layout can help to encourage learning, improve engagement, and may also support positive classroom behaviors.
Creating the Right Early Childhood Classroom Environment
Of course, depending on the size of the learning space, the number of students in the class, and each educator’s preferred style, the ideal layout of an early childhood classroom will differ. However, there are some general considerations that may be used as a guide for setting up a classroom that meets the needs of the students and the teacher alike.
What Makes an Early Childhood Classroom Different?
Early childhood classrooms differ from learning spaces for older students because of their focus on facilitating individual investigation and playful engagement with materials. Whether it’s students playing together in a group, or a student independently focused on building with blocks, each area of the early childhood classroom is dedicated to promoting growth and development-a foundation for future learning and problem solving.
Foundational skills in early childhood:
- Cognition & Problem Solving
- Social & Emotional Skills
- Speech & Language Development
- Fine & Gross Motor Skills
How Does the Classroom Layout Affect Learning?
The layout of an early childhood classroom greatly impacts how students use the tools and supplies, and how efficiently educators are able to take advantage of and facilitate learning opportunities. Students in an environment that suits their needs and supports learning outcomes, will be more productive, engaged, and excited about learning new things. Here are some important considerations to keep in mind when creating a layout for your early childhood classroom space:
Student Safety: When considering the safety of your classroom layout, there are more factors involved than simply putting away dangerous objects. A teacher’s priority is keeping students safe, but a properly organized classroom environment should do half the work. Each area of the room should outline the number of students permitted, and all furniture should be well-constructed and stable to avoid any accidental injuries. When considering children’s safety, think beyond the physical aspects of the classroom to ‘emotional safety’. A child that feels welcomed, secure and has their emotional needs met is better equipped to learn and develop.
Emotional Security: The culture of a group of young learners comes into play when considering the types of furnishings and materials that will welcome and support young children. Look and see what objects and furniture pieces are the most functional and easy to use. The classroom environment should aim to be both comfortable and functional, with thought to creating a sense of familiarity that reflects the family and culture of the home.
Varied Learning Spaces: Some activities are best suited to large groups; other are better explored in smaller groups or one-to-one. Children differ in their own needs and learning styles. Remember to allow spaces for large group, small group and individual learning opportunities as you lay out your classroom. Organize each space in a way that encourages the appropriate use of an area’s supplies and materials.
Provide Materials to Renew Interest and Engagement: The space should be set up to stimulate and challenge students’ thinking, but a careful line should be drawn between not having enough and having too many materials. Students who are overwhelmed are less capable of learning and are more likely to contribute to chaos in the classroom. With the right number of materials available, teachers can spend more time engaging students, and less time maintaining order in the classroom. Be sure to rotate in new materials to expand children’s learning and rotate out those items that are no longer engaging to maintain interest.
KidSpaces Early Childhood Classroom Furniture Package
Extensive research and development has gone into the creation of KidSpaces all-in-one early childhood classroom packages that incorporate all of the important facets of an effective learning space. From comfortable, quality furnishings, to the tools and supplies that facilitate and encourage early childhood development, the KidSpaces complete classroom packages are created to support early childhood educational standards.