Setting Up the Classroom
Deciding how to set up your classroom is a very important step most teachers think about before the start of each new year. This was always one of my favorite things to do, but I know some teachers get overwhelmed by the thought of knowing the best way to set up the classroom. There were times I set up my classroom perfect in my mind, but once the students arrived, I realized it wasn’t a good plan. Remember, you can always change it, if the design is not working for you or your students.
Size of the Classroom
Yes, size matters! I worked in a beautiful historic school that was built in the late 1800s. The classrooms were small and there was very little storage. I had to make sure I was using every inch of space in my classroom to the best of my ability. One thing that really helped in a small classroom was getting rid of student chairs. I lowered the tables to the lowest they could be, and students sat on the floor. This was also helpful for active students because they could sit on their bottom, sit on their knees, kneel, etc. rather than sitting still in a chair. The shelves in my classroom served two purposes: to divide spaces and for holding materials. Although having a big classroom can come along with challenges also. You might need a lot of furniture to fill it. Whatever the size of your classroom, it’s helpful to be creative when designing the layout. And, if it doesn’t work, change it. Before the first day of school, I set up the furniture in several different ways before deciding what I thought would work best.
Setting Up a Kindergarten Classroom
Think about the big things first. My learning rug took up the most amount of space, so I started with that. I put it in place first and the things that had to be around it: my teacher chair, big book holder, my desk with computer attached to hook up to the smart board, and so on. Once my big learning rug was in place, I thought about the rest of my classroom and how I wanted to set up for literacy centers and play centers. A couple of questions I always had were: How did I want to space out the centers? What shelves would I need for each center? I put shelves in different areas of the classroom to design little nooks for each center. This also helped keep noise levels down naturally. There were tables in each nook to be used at that center. These same tables were used during student work time. Save the smaller furniture for last. It’s easier to find spaces for the smaller things when all the big pieces of furniture are in place.
Have your organization systems in place before the first day of school. After the students arrive, you will have a lot less time to think about how you want to keep things organized. I had all of my master copies in file folders in a filing cabinet. These were organized by months of the school year, that way I could look in September to find anything I might need for that month. I also kept a bin near my desk for master copies. If I didn’t have time to put my master copies away or if I got new master copies, they went into the master copy bin. When I had the time, I pulled them out of the bin and filed them away.
I hope you find this article helpful. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below.
More from 4 Kinder Teachers
Please take a look around at our site. We have some great resources, check out literacy skills curriculum! If the school year is about to start, you might be interested in this article about a schedule for kindergarten. If there’s anything you are looking for and can’t find, leave us a comment below. We’d love to help you out!