The Importance of Classroom Environment

I can’t stress enough the importance of a quality classroom environment. It is the first question I ask teachers when they are having struggles with students behaviorally or when their classroom is not functioning.

“What changes can you make in your classroom environment to help students/staff/families be more successful?”

It seems like such a simple question….but it is often this question that leads to other questions…and then to change.

Anyone who has taught with me begins to either love or dread my questions….A simple question like, “Why are the children not playing in the block area?” Can lead to a drastic rearranging of the entire classroom. But it is questions like this that we MUST ask ourselves as educators.

If you are constantly telling your students to stop climbing up the bookcase to grab their favorite book, you might consider moving the favorite book to the bottom shelf.

The classroom environment should feel welcoming and inviting, but also it should promote success within your students. For most, this is their first school experience, we want it to be positive. As the school year goes on, and we begin to increase the level of independence in the classroom, we can begin to make changes in the environment that raise the expectation level.

This is the power the classroom environment holds….use it! It truly is the third teacher. The teachers within our program do an incredible job of setting up environments that support the interests and developmental needs of their students. By observing their students they are able to create an environment that can promote a learning community where all children can thrive and grow.

Below are some of the unique moments within our classrooms that our teachers have worked hard to create:

A dramatic play space that is FULL of REAL items….when a space has authenticity, children elevate their play!
A Classroom should have spaces that are meant for a large group, and also spaces that are designed for one to two children. I love this small art space created for one, where children care wear headphones and paint what they hear.
Our mud kitchen in our outdoor space is simple. But we approached it exactly like we approach our classroom spaces. We wanted it to be functional, full of authenticity and also beautifully inviting.
Another dramatic play space that invites children to play with its gorgeous set up!
A broader look at one of our classrooms!
I love the natural elements that these teachers included in their dramatic play set up! Students loved to pretend that the acorns and pinecones were part of the feast!
Environmental changes don’t have to be huge….but can make all the difference. By simply turning this table upside, teachers created a weaving space that turned into an ongoing collaborative art project. It was a simple change that encouraged children to slow down and look at things differently.
An upside down table turned into this work of art!
A simple dramatic play space that is elevated by simply adding a table cloth (a piece of fabric folded to size) and properly placed table settings.
Don’t be afraid to look at your classroom in new and interesting way….this rug became an activity space by simply being intentional by how the materials were displayed.
The students in this classroom added to this activity for weeks. By allowing the classroom environment to support this “Recycled City”, students were able to create something they were truly proud of and engaged in.
A simple and cozy reading corner.
The top of this shelf became a loose parts collection site. Children were given access to this space and could bring the loose parts into other areas of the classroom.
The teachers in this classroom used this giant chalkboard as a space to collect ideas from students and share the curriculum with families.
Overall classroom set up of The Den Classroom.
A simple circle time space that is inviting but not overwhelming.

ALL things FALL!

During the month of October the students in The Bridge classroom noticed the leaves changing colors on the trees outside….and so began the non-stop questions!

Their interest evolved into a month of exploring the season of Fall, specifically trees, their leaves, and the different fruits produced. Leading us into learning about apples and ending with an exploration of pumpkins.

Following the children’s interest allowed us to dig deeper into the different seasons we experience every year! We explored the different types of leaves and produce that grow locally in Southern Oregon.

Check out how we incorporated many areas of learning as this curriculum naturally emerged…..