Create a Sense of Belonging
Decorate your classroom with bright colors and add a few colorful plants to add warmth. If possible, paint the walls in blue and green. Line your bulletin boards with newsletters, announcements, and artwork. On the walls have children’s creations displayed at eye level, in addition to family pictures. This provides a sense of belonging to children and their families. A decorated environment provides parents a sense of welcoming and fosters family participation.Every student should have their own individual cubby to store their personal belongings in. Label each cubby with the students name, picture, and maybe post one interesting fact. The cubbies provide a private place for each child to feel a sense of belonging.
Label Classroom Objects
Labeling classroom objects allows English language learners to understand and feel more comfortable in their classroom. Start with simple items: chair, chalkboard, door, etc.
The art area should contain crayons, paint, paper, magazines, stamps, and scissors. Have all materials at children’s level so they can be accessible to explore. Not only is this a great area to enhance creative development and self-expression, but also an opportunity to practice fine motor skills, such as, cutting, drawing, and coloring.
The science area should be based around the children’s interest. One great idea would be to have a classroom pet, such as a hamster. This would be a fun learning experience for both the teacher and the children. A pet can create the desire for learning about a specific animal and construct teachable moments. There are countless ways to focus learning about a pet. For instance, how we care for a living thing. All year long, children will show interest in learning about small animals. A pet is a great tool for modeling and teaching responsible behavior. For example, children care for a pet by filling the food and water bowls. Not only do pets promote scientific thinking skills, but also support children’s natural curiosity. All in all, a pet brings joy and benefits for the entire school year.
The block area should offer child-accessible shelves, which could be filled with hollow blocks, vehicles, trucks, people, dinosaurs, and traffic signs. The block area should have a rug placed in it to help reduce the noise level of the blocks hitting the floor. This area is critical because building with blocks enhances all aspects of a child’s development.
Dramatic Play Area
This area should contain a play kitchen, career costumes, make believe hats, baby dolls, and a healthy and multicultural food set. Also there should be a round table with two chairs located in this space. Dramatic play promotes self-expression and social, emotional, and creative development through role-playing and language.
Have a bookshelf filled with developmentally appropriate fiction and non-fiction picture books, based on children’s interests. The main objective of the reading center is to inspire children to love reading and show the variety of benefits books have to give. This center strengthens children’s language and reading development by exposing them to quality literature. The more children are immersed with books the more they learn to value and enjoy them.
The writing center sharpens fine motor skills. This desk should be filled with pencils, markers, and pens to encourage children to practice writing. Not only does this center have writing tools, but also a variety of different materials to write on. For example sparkly note pads, mini dry erase boards, or colored sheets of paper. This should be one of the most popular centers because young children love to write in their journal and make their own books. Children can further their fine motor development by controlling the small muscles in their hands, while experimenting with the different writing tools. As a final point, this area provides children the opportunity to understand the purpose of writing and to practice writing letters and spelling words.
Above all, having a safe classroom is the most important. Children should be free to explore the art, science, block, reading, or writing centers,but as their teacher, you should be constantly observing, interacting, and guiding your children. Your classroom should provide children a safe place to engage in learning activities.