Setting Up Your Preschool Classroom for Back-to-School Success
A new school year will soon be upon us. As preschool teachers work to prepare their classrooms for a new group of eager young learners, we thought we would take the opportunity to share our best tips for setting up a preschool classroom, to help get the new school year off to a great start!
1. Provide a welcoming atmosphere that helps children take ownership of the space. A welcoming preschool environment helps children feel at home and safe in their new classroom. Incorporating your students' names into your classroom decor, such as on birthday charts and cubby labels, can help the child start to identify the classroom as "theirs."
2. Label EVERYTHING! Labeling items is a great way to expose children to as many words as possible. So label the door, the window, the tables, the chairs, the books, the blocks...and even the toilet!
3. Give visual cues that help establish classroom rules and routines. A large part of the learning that takes place in a preschool classroom involves learning how to learn. Taking turns, sitting criss-cross, and learning to line up are just a few of the classroom skills that children learn in preschool. A classroom chart communicates classroom expectations, reinforces positive behaviors and encourages important social skills for school success.
4. Use visual cues to reinforce positive behaviors. Positive reinforcement has been widely shown to increase positive behaviors and encourage new skills. Like classroom charts, token boards provide a visual reminder of classroom expectations, and can be used to reward individual children for appropriate behaviors, and/or to encourage them when working to master a specific task, behavior or goal.
5. Promote safety. Make note of any children with food allergies near areas where food will be served or prepared. For field trips, ID bands can be used to identify children with food allergies and keep them safe. ID bands can be useful for children without food allergies as well, providing identifying information discreetly on the inside of the band.
The best classroom decor not only looks warm and welcoming, it serves a dual purpose, helping to provide structure to the environment, and promoting early reading skills in the process.