Early childhood learning environments can feel hectic at the start of a new year. Children need support adjusting to working with friends, following routines, and being apart from family. A successful start at the beginning of the school year, for both teachers and students, means organization of materials and introduction of classroom procedures. These tips will help you to start the semester feeling ready to go.
Storage and Organization Refresh for a New Semester
You might not have all the time you’d like to start fresh at the beginning of a new semester; however, planning for the school year will be easier and more enjoyable if you’ve given your space a once-over before things get busy again.
Cleaning & Organizing the Early Learning Environments
Your early childhood classroom may be set-up in centers and areas, each with its own resources and supplies. If so, you’ll want to make sure that each arrangement is healthy and safe for children.
Instead of trying to give every area of the room a matching structure & organizational layout, focus on these three tasks:
- Sorting out any supplies or learning resources that are broken or need replacement
- Inspecting each piece of furniture for loose parts or sharp edges that may cause scrapes or pinch fingers
- Cleaning & sanitizing learning materials, furniture, and surfaces
Decluttering a Pre-K Classroom with Storage Solutions
Once you’ve cleaned the tools you’re keeping and tossed or repaired those that needed attention, you might want to consider decluttering each area of the room. Whether this means implementing a monthly rotation of materials, or simply get rid of those that aren’t used very often, your students will find playing and learning easier!
A quality over quantity mindset on early childhood classroom materials might give your learning space a calmer feeling and cleaner appearance. A strategically organized classroom will not only keep your instruction on-track, but will also help children follow daily routines more easily.
Tips for Pre-K Classroom Management
Modeling and frequent review of classroom procedures will allow children to adjust to the overall learning environment more quickly. Here are some reminders to make your classroom run as smoothly as possible:
- Practice and stick to a routine until students are familiar with the environment and activities.
- Establish an “attention-getting” method including how students should respond when you require them to focus on what’s being said.
- Revisit the rules for transitions: cleaning up should be emphasized to encourage responsibility and self-confidence.
- Remind students of what they should do if they become frustrated, overwhelmed, or upset. Give them a place to go and some quiet time to regroup before starting again.
Ideas for Adding STEAM to Your Early Childhood Classroom
If you’re looking for a new way to organize a space in your classroom or a new way to engage the early learners in your space, consider organizing a STEAM center. From manipulatives, to building block challenges and books, your classroom STEAM center can help students to explore new ideas and build foundational critical thinkingskills.
Adding some STEAM experiences into the daily schedule can also give your students an opportunity to learn in different ways. It doesn’t have to mean buying new and expensive classroom materials. Instead, focus on creating unique learning opportunities with existing resources that integrate two or more STEAM components (science, technology, engineering, art and math), and encourage group work so that children are also practicing their communication skills. Above all, make it risk-free and fun!
More Early Childhood Tips & Inspiration
For more tips, advice, and encouragement for getting a head-start on the new semester, be sure to visit the Early Childhood category page to see what’s new. You’ll find must-have classroom supply lists, activity ideas, and more.
Also be sure to head over to the online store to find thousands of high quality education tools and supplies for students of any age. From great gift ideas to arts & crafts, the online store has you covered.
Tamie Pratt-Fartro, PhD
Dr. Tamie Pratt-Fartro has served the education community for over 20 years as early childhood/elementary teacher, reading specialist, literacy coach, professional development specialist, researcher, and university professor. Tamie has conducted multiple research studies on literacy, play, kindergarten transition, reflective teaching, and leadership.
Read more posts by Dr. Tamie Pratt-Fartro–>