Moving into a new building gave Carroll Bell Elementary School teachers the perfect opportunity to reimagine their early learning classrooms. The newly redesigned preschool, kindergarten, and first grade classrooms — equipped with colorful and flexible furniture from School Specialty — support richer, more engaging learning experiences for students.
“The students are more comfortable. They’re allowed to be kids,” says Carroll Bell Elementary School Principal, Taleen Bloom. “The new learning environments are very stimulating. Students love coming to school now, and our attendance has increased.”
Comfort and flexibility are key aspects of the classrooms’ new design. For instance, the furniture is on casters so that it can be moved around the room easily. Tables can be arranged into different configurations to support many types of activities, as well as groupings of various sizes.
This makes each classroom a multipurpose learning space that can be set up in different ways, depending on the teacher’s learning objectives. It also helps teachers create clearly defined learning centers to support the transition from one activity to another, which is important for children’s social-emotional development.
In addition, the classrooms’ computer tables are height-adjustable to match the needs of diverse children. There are seating options that allow students to rock back and forth or bounce up and down, so they can fidget when they are restless and still focus on their learning. There are also both hard and soft seating options, giving students choices in where they’d like to work so that they can be most productive.
“The chairs enable them to move around, which helps them burn excess energy,” Bloom says.
Fostering Learning Through Exploration and Play
What’s more, the preschool and kindergarten classrooms include many opportunities for children to explore and play, with compact science tables and other manipulatives.
There are functional touches in the design as well; the surfaces of the tables and storage cabinet doors allow students to write on them with dry-erase markers that wipe right off. This gives young children an opportunity to creatively work through their ideas, wherever they happen to be in the room.
“We love the new furniture!” a kindergarten teacher gushes. “We are able use the tables as whiteboards to teach. Students enjoy writing on them and then wiping them off.”
To learn more about Carroll Bell Elementary School’s transformation, check out this case study.
Learn more about the relationship between classroom design and effective early learning.
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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.
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