Summer is winding down, and every teacher has plans in the works as they look forward to the new school year. Whether you work in a public school, private school, or a child care facility, it’s time to make some plans to get your classrooms ready!
While we focus on the all-important interpersonal interactions that build relationships with our children, we need to think carefully and intentionally about how the classroom setup allows us the time to interact. We need to plan our days so that our kids have consistency, know the routine, and feel free to explore their curiosities.
Let’s take a look at a few things to consider. Remember, your classroom sends a message to children.
A child wants to know: “Do I belong here?” “Am I safe here?” “Is it okay to ask for help?” “Is this a place where my concerns and needs are noted and responded to?” “Will there be fun things to do?” “Will I make friends?”
A classroom that has inviting spaces, interesting and accessible materials, and provides TIME to explore sets the stage for all those wonderful teachable moments that make our day! A classroom that has a predictable flow, a warm and nurturing place where a child can choose how and where they play, or maybe has a place to find some quiet space does much to create opportunities to connect with their classmates and their teacher.
I've compiled a quick classroom setup checklist you can use while arranging your classroom this fall. If you need examples of classroom setups or materials you can use to promote different types of skills, the Teachstone Pinterest boards are a great resource to browse through.
If you need help planning your classroom setup, check out our webinar, Ready for School? Setting Up Your Classroom for Success. We discuss how the classroom materials teachers select, the setup of a classroom, and a daily classroom schedule work together to provide a foundation for great instruction that promotes social and academic outcomes for children.
As an infant classroom teacher, you know that talking to babies is important. For instance, you tell the infants in your care what they are looking at (“You see the new block basket on the shelf!”). You label objects (“You have the red ball!”). And you describe events that take place in the classroom (“The tray just fell off the table! That scared you.”). These are all examples of talking with babies. Why, then, can it be so challenging to do this consistently in the classroom?
A few years into teaching early childhood, I applied to work at a school that does incredible work in the local community. I was thrilled to get an interview but realized very quickly that, even though the environment was supportive and the students were wonderful young people, I was much too intimidated to work there.
One of the best things about teaching is having a fresh start every morning. Greeting your students plays an important part in setting the tone of your classroom. I like to think that, as teachers, we get a chance to make a good first impression each day. Let's take a moment to consider the impact greetings can have with students, not only at the beginning of the school day but throughout the day as well.
We all know people are naturally social beings—we need interactions to survive. But just because we’re naturally social doesn’t mean we know how to be social. We have to learn social behaviors—from our families, caregivers, and peers. Teachers play a key role in promoting social development, which includes peer play and friendships.