When we think of classrooms for preschoolers, there is always this image of a bright and colourful world that takes us adults into an entirely different macrocosm. However, for the child, it is how the world is – Cheerful, bright and always full of colour and having something or the other to explore. It is their own special world where they learn and discover countless new experiences.
For a preschooler who is just about starting to get to know many new facets, it is the school environment that has the biggest impact. Very rightly said, these are the most important years for these innocent little kids. Therefore, giving importance to the classroom environment is certainly a priority. So, if you are a preschool teacher or an early childhood educator, there is a lot of responsibility that rides on your shoulders. Nevertheless, there is always help at hand- those tiny tots are constantly around you, making you think on your toes!
Jokes apart, there are a lot of advantages when you set up your classroom in a creative and engaging manner. This will usher in a successful environment that not only helps your tiny tots to learn effectively but also gives a great sense of accomplishment.
Why is it important to create a wonderful classroom environment?
Small or big, any change towards creating a positive and happy space for your preschooler helps in setting the tone in these formative years. When you as a teacher look into the whole scenario, you will realize that making these changes helps in better learning outcomes. After all, a warm and loving environment paves way for a strong foundation as well as creating great value in a preschooler’s life.
For three to four-year-old children, it is a set routine and consistency, which helps in effective learning. These are the very same kids who are also an energetic bunch. Matching their energy levels is a challenge at times for teachers. Nevertheless, here, patience is the key. Tackling them without losing your cool really does wonders. Here, the classroom setup can aid teachers in a big way. You may wonder as to how this is possible. But yes, it is definitely possible. Dividing the kids into small groups is the key to success here. This makes the kids more focused on the task at hand and also allows the teacher to give better attention to the individual needs of the child.
Now, all this calls for a better and suitable setup of the classroom where the teacher can move freely in between small groups of children. Accordingly, arranging the tables, chairs and other related furniture in an organized way supports the cause.
The space for your preschooler should be designed in such a way that there is no hindrance in the way the child interacts with the various elements of the preschool environment, be it material, people or other spaces. Your preschooler should have the freedom to explore without curbing the natural instinct of exploration, and at the same time having some sense of semblance to a structured pattern.
Tips to set up a classroom for success
Check out some of these time-tested strategies that can help you in running your early childhood classroom efficiently. Apart from the glaringly evident changes, in most cases, it is those teeny-weeny changes that create a big impact, and make the classroom space very child-friendly.
- Your preschoolers are in an era of booming technological advances. It is therefore imperative that you set up a classroom that is designed keeping these factors in mind. Learning the relevant 21st-century skills will be a major prerequisite for these future citizens!
- Make learning play based. Research has shown that this kind of learning enhances the child’s developmental as well as academic learning outcomes. Play-based learning encourages children to think creatively and explore different ways to arrive at a solution. These tasks slowly but steadily create an environment where the child questions himself, with a little help from the teacher, of course, to find alternate solutions. With this, you are laying the foundation for the child to learn the essential 21st-century skills of decision-making and problem-solving.
- Your students should be able to make choices. A classroom environment that enables children to make choices helps in influencing learning largely. Teacher-driven group activities with sufficient choices for the kids, help children learn through teamwork and exploratory play.
- An organized space with well-labelled areas for different sections of the class gives your preschoolers a sense of belongingness. If your preschooler feels that he/she belongs to that place, half the battle is won!
- Display! When your students see their pictures and their work displayed all around the class, they will feel elated. They will feel valued. This brings in oodles of confidence to these children.
- Last but not the least, make it simple! De-clutter your classroom spaces from time to time so that there is no sensory overload. After all, you do not want to overwhelm these young kids.