Preparing your classroom can be daunting and overwhelming, but working on it is very rewarding. See your classroom with new eyes and give it a fresh and inviting new look.
Step by Step
1) Create flow: organise and arrange your classroom furniture to encourage a natural flow. Make sure everything is a child’s height and is easily accessible. Younger children should be able to select materials from lower shelves and older the higher shelves so work bottom to top. Make sure you have plenty of open floor space.
2) Overfill: do not overfill your shelves, the materials should be placed on trays that can be easily removed and replaced. Think carefully where you want to have materials as, ideally, they should remain in the same place all year. Place them in order and sequence of development.
3) Material check: make sure all your materials are complete and in good condition. This thoroughness takes time but is essential to a smoothly running classroom
4) Fresh and clean: aim for welcoming, inviting, fresh and clean. Scrub down the shelves, chairs, tables and wash the rugs. Get rid of broken and chipped pieces or repaint. Wipe down doors and door handles, clean windows. Paint walls and shelves if you need to, give your carpets a critical going over and change/wash all rugs used by the children.
5) Your area: this area is not touched by the children so can be higher up, have your shelves in order and labelled for easy access.
6) Supply cupboards: nightmare cupboards! clean them out and get RID of items you know in your heart of hearts you will not use! replace supplies, keep things ordered and labelled with easy access, you can even make a list to stick on the cupboard door as to what is in the cupboard. Try to keep it this way..a huge challenge for me!
7) Cubbies: have each child’s cubby clean and ready for use with their name clearly marked. If they cannot read their name I like to put their photo on too for easy recognition, and it empowers them to help each other too.
8) Supplies: have your supplies topped up and make a list of things you need to get. Pencils and colour pencils sharpened, clean erasers, inset paper and other paper in good quantities and easily topped up. Scissors for lefty’s too. Tracing, chalk boards wax crayons etc. all ready.
9) Admin: have a place set aside where a child can do their own admin. Sounds crazy I know but I have found it very helpful, give each child a place where they can keep any work they may want to. Have a date stamp and and ink pad next to it, change the date daily, or better still have a child do it at circle when talking about the date. (a separate post on admin. to follow)
11) Plants/fish tanks/animals: all in a good clean and fresh condition, have supplies for feeding, watering, changing etc. near by.
12) Plan your first week: be organised, you may need to address things that may come up last minute. Make sure your lists, and each child’s information are readily available. Have your sign in and out book ready at the door with a working pen attached.
13) Snack menu: Have this planned and organised, make sure you know whether you have children with allergies or any special dietary needs. Make attention notices about this for other members of staff involved with making snacks. Have your menu boards ready in pictures/words for the children.
14) Medication: Be aware of any medical needs a child may have and be prepared, have the book/permission slips ready for a parent to log any medications/dosage etc. Have a locked first aid box on a high shelf.
15) Walls: No artefacts or crowded walls filled with photographs and pictures, if you do want pictures make sure there are very few and low on the walls so they can be seen by children. Have a full length mirror near practical life if you’d like. No propped up figures or hanging mobiles.
Your classroom is not a museum, crowded with information and interesting bits and pieces that they cannot touch.
It is a fresh, inviting and calm place for children to explore and grow.
16) Tissues and bins: Back to School also means, unfortunately, back to coughs and colds etc. so try to keep this under control by having boxes of tissues dotted around the classroom with a bin for quick disposal right nearby. You may also want to have a bottle of natural hand sanitiser within easy reach.
Empower the child.