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Classroom Design 

This page is full of great ideas for room set-up, creating developmentally appropriate environments, and Decorating ideas!!! 
 
 
Below are some documents to help you design appropriate environments for the children in your class.








  Assessing your own classroom 

Below is a downloadable "Assessment Sheet" that I created for my "Designing living and learning spaces" training.  It is a great tool for helping any teacher, assistant or even a parent in assessing their current classroom environment and then deciding what may need to be changed.
 

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CLICK HERE to download the Assessment Sheet

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"My Style"- Think Sheet Survey

Here is another downloadable file that I created for my training.  It is a 3 page survey for exploring what your "Designing" type is!  Take the survey to figure out why your classroom is the way it is and ways to improve your skills, etc.!  Are you a classic designer an expressive designer or a little bit of both!  Take the "My Style" survey and find out!

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CLICK HERE to download the "My Style" Survey

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Important Design points to Remember

* 1.) ELEMENTS of design in living and learning spaces.
                    
                     ~ Lighting
                     ~ Color
                     ~ Fixtures
                     ~ Arrangement and use of available space
 
* 2.)  Considering PERSPECITVE when designing environments for children.
                   
                     ~ The importance of EYE LEVEL
                     ~ Organization
                     ~ Evoking feelings of wonder & curiosity to discover
 
* 3.) MATERIALS AND CONTENT in Living and Learning Spaces.
 
                     ~ Using materials that are INTERACTIVE
                     ~ Using materials that are OPEN-ENDED
 
* 4.) PERSONALIZING Living and Learning Spaces.
              
                     ~ Analyzing YOUR NEEDS in living & learning spaces.
                     ~ Applying the methods to your own situation.
       



Classroom Design and Decorating Ideas for
SMALLER SPACES
 
It is always a challenge to come up with ways to maximize space in a small classroom.  At the beginning of this school year, I really had to look at my new K-3 Classroom and decide which ways would maximize the available space. 
 
Another issue with my classroom is that it doubles as a nursery for the private school/church on the weekends, so I have to work around 2 cribs and a diaper changing station.  Below are the before and after photos of how I rearranged the room and gave it a homey, comfortable and yet productive preschool vibe!

 
 
 
 
 
CONTINUITY

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When setting up my actual "lesson" area- assigning seats, etc.- I chose to really try and create "continuity" in the space.  The teacher before me had chosen to push the tables all the way against the walls, which made the space feel cluttered to me.  By turning the tables parallel and placing an area rug under each table- the space was given a better flow and a more "obvious" working environment rather
than just 2 tables in a room...

A SPACE FOR US ALL...

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  When I first saw my classroom over the summer, I immediately had the thought that not all of the toys should just be shoved up against the wall in a continuous line.  By placing the "home" units in a corner, the monotony is broken up and the children feel that they have their own "corner" to use as their "house" as well as open areas for blocks, animals,
dramatic play, etc.
 
I really feel that this created a comfortable feeling for the children who sometimes all want to play different things and other times want to work together in pairs or groups with the same toys.

SECTIONING

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Just as with larger classrooms, sectioning is an important key to remember when planning spaces for young children.  Their minds work in compartments and they gain a sense of security in knowing which spaces are for which activities, which part of their routine they will use specific areas for, etc. 
 
For my classroom, (since I had to leave specific items in the room for the others using it on the weekends), I chose to move the toy shelves down on the wall and create a special "corner" for our "Group-Time" tree!  By adding a special Area Rug and large comfy pillows the space seems separate from the rest of the wall and classroom.  We use the "Blue Rug" for Circle/ Group time, story-time and more!
 
 


 
Classroom Design and Decorating Ideas for
LARGER SPACES

Here are some design and decorating ideas that I have either come up with or used in my own classroom.

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A degree of Separation

When faced with the challenge of turning one large room into a classroom for upwards of 20-30 kids- I use separation as a key.  I turned my large classroom into one with distinct areas that the kids can enjoy for different activities, etc.
 
For example I created:
- A Movie/ Mat Area for movie times and I also often use it as a learning center area during free-time.
- A Library Corner for perusing the books, putting together a puzzle or often times for younger ones to work on homework.  This corner is a very popular area for the students in my aftercare.  For an extra feeling of relaxation and a homey feel, I also have various pillows available for the kids to recline on and use as well as area lamps for added ambience.
- A General Table Area for various activities including as a homework workspace, drawing and art projects, board games, various learning centers, etc.
- A Homework Nook for the older students who need a little more focus- The "nook" is a little apart from the general area in a cutout from the wall where they can sit at a table and work together if needed.
 
 
 

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Information Stations

I believe firmly that children of different ages (and to different degrees) appreciate being given information to process in their own way.  For this reason, I often arrange my classroom in "information stations". 
 
As pictured, I have one large wall in the front of my classroom which serves as my main "Information station".  On this one wall is showcased the children's "Art Gallery" in the library corner, the monthly "Bulletin Board", R-E-S-P-E-C-T Keys and daily bonus (all in the general area).  At any given point, the children can look at this wall and gain the information they may enjoy or need.  Also in this area, I include the "Dates to Remember" and the Aftercare Schedule (Can be seen on the "Classroom Resources" page of this site)
 
 
 
 
 

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Those Extra Touches

Often when it comes to designing a classroom, the things that tie it all together are those little "Extra touches"...Those aspects that create a feeling of whimsy or create curiosity in the children. 
 
For example, as pictured:
Raising the Roof:  I absolutely LOVE using the ceiling as a point of design.  This works well in my classroom since I have a high ceiling.  However, if I had a lower ceiling, the effect would be the opposite...one of making the room feel smaller and perhaps more crowded.  Think about the layout of the room and height of the ceiling before you go this route.  (Please also note that the use of decorations from the ceiling MAY be prohibited by your fire marshall- Please check with your own state guidelines)
 
I have used the ceiling to add: Leaves for autumn, snowflakes for winter, an umbrella as a focal point and had the kids decorate raindrops to surround it for spring and colorful windsocks for late spring! 
 
Wall Art:  To create a separated area as well as an open doorway for imagination, I LOVE the use of wall murals.  My wall mural is one of a "wooded clearing" with trees, grass, flowers, etc.  in my library corner.
 
Their own creations: The very best way to add extra touches is to use the creations of the children themselves!  To spruce up a cabinet in the reading corner, I allow the kids to post their drawings and art projects.  Also, as pictured, I use the children's "Special Projects" we have created as an extra touch. 

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A "Group" Mentality: I stress the "Group Mentality" in my aftercare class.  That is to say that it is sometimes difficult to instill a feeling of "family" in my aftercare since so many children are there, they are different ages and the group varies from day to day.  In order to help that along, I always create a monthly bulletin board with a theme and I always incorporate EACH child's name somehow into the board. 
 
For Example: For October, the leaves each have a child's name; For November, the turkey feathers and pumpkins bear each child's name; For December it was a special star in the sky for each child and January's was a named snowflake and on and on!  The kids are ALWAYS excited to see what will be on the next months and they enjoy pointing at their own name and those of their friends!
 
 
 
 

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