I recently saw some photos of an AWESOME preschool classroom another teacher posted in one of my Facebook groups. It was so amazing and well planned out I just had to have her share more info! So this post is a guest post by my new friend Ashleigh, from Pre-K Jitters. Keep reading to find out how to set up a super classroom like hers!
How to Set Up a Quality Preschool Classroom
Guest Post by Ashleigh Webber from Pre-K Jitters.
Before you begin, it is important to set up your classroom for three things:
1. A variety of play styles (cooperative, parallel, and solitary).
First, you need to make sure there are centers in your room where as little as one person can go to work alone and as many as five or six can work cooperatively.
2. Independence of all learners.
Set up your centers so that children can access and set up all materials. This is a MUST DO for your sanity. Encourage them to get materials out and set them up.
3. Behavior Management.
The more there is to do: the less bored they are: the less behavior problems you’ll have. On the same note, these areas need to be taken care of to ensure that children are able to play and work cooperatively.
I separate my classroom with centers. In a quality PreK Classroom, it is important to foster children’s learning through play. So I implement this playful learning through the various centers in my classroom.
I am going to list the centers below including what is included in each center as well as a picture of that center.
This center gives a deeper insight into the alphabet and allows children to explore more of the alphabet! Some great things to include are: alphabet letters, alphabet books, Wikki Stix, Wikki Stick cards, dry erase alphabet sheets, dry erase alphabet cards, dry erase markers.
This is by far my most popular center in my classroom.
In this center, I have two shelves that have a variety of art materials. Some really great tools to include in this center are: pipe cleaners, tissue paper, string, beads, play dough, markers, crayons, scrap papers, letter cutouts, tape, glue, buttons, extra plates and cutlery, napkins, paint, and Do A Dot Markers.
Also, I have the easel for them to use with paint, markers, or whatever they want. I feel that it is so important for everything to be self accessible. So I let the kiddos set up and use whatever they want for their projects.
The block area is another popular area in my classroom. In this center, I have two shelves with a variety of blocks and extra materials.
Some great things to have in your block center are: wooden blocks, Legos, people, animals, paper, pencils, loose tubes, loose cardboard pieces, marble maze pieces and marbles, felt pieces and fabric, wooden log pieces, Lincoln Logs, train tracks, vehicles, Duplo Blocks, Barbies/Dolls, magnetic board, and magnetic marble maze.
At this center, I have one computer with a variety of educational games on it. This helps students start to get used to computers before they head to school!
Another popular center in my room! In this center, I am constantly changing it to go along with what students are learning about.
Everywhere else in my classroom, we have labels with pictures and are very good about putting things where “they go.” But in this center, anything goes. Things are added and taken out often to go with children’s interests. So it’s almost impossible to keep up with labels!
It’s important to associate this area with the specific needs of the child! It should always be changing!
In this center, I have two iPads, two yoga mats, two pairs of headphones, and two timers. And students know that if they want to work on the iPad, they need to get everything “set up”. It is important to foster that independence or you’ll go crazy!
This is a very cozy center. For example, in this center, I have pillows on the floor to allow them to stretch out and relax. I also have a lamp and family pictures in frames.
Other things I include in this center are: felt board and pieces, iPods with stories on them with the corresponding stories and headphones, books that reflect theme and interests of children, puppets, puppet books, finger puppets, and book buddies (stuffed animals that go with books).
I currently have a makeshift light table that I used a clear box and Christmas lights. At this table, children are learning about variations in light and dark and spatial awareness. I usually use translucent materials in this center like magnatiles or old glowsticks.
In this center, I have an iPad with stories from Audible. This is such a great tool!! You can buy books for as little as $.50 by really awesome authors! In the cabinet, I also have books that correspond with the Listening Library along with Book Buddies (stuffed animals).
At this center, I have two shelves of different tools and manipulatives that help students with shape, color, number, and pattern recognition.
Some great tools to include in this center are: magnatiles, sorting bears, small geometric shapes, dominoes, journals and pencils, bowls, trays, k’nex, puzzles, lacing cards, tangrams and cards, STEM challenges, and connectors.
At this center, I have our class pet “Rock Star” (fish), ongoing experiments, magnifying glasses, and our “discovery box” that allows them to explore something they’re interested in.
Pocket Chart Center
I change this center based on the interests of the child. Right now, I have letters and pointers in there for them to practice the alphabet but it is also a great place to practice story sequencing as well.
Every Pre-K Classroom MUST HAVE a quiet space where children can relax, unwind, and/or calm down from a traumatic experience. I call this my Relaxation Center. In this center, I have emotion books, mirrors, sensory bottles, a mermaid pillow, a heavy mat, fidget toys, and calm down cards.
I have a science shelf that has a variety of science tools and materials. Some great materials are: shells, rocks, sticks, magnifying glasses, microscopes, animals, magnets, magnetic boards, trays, bowls, and tweezers.
I also have my sensory table in this center for them to incorporate anything they find into the sensory table. I also always find that it is best to put your science center by a window! This is a great way for them to use their tools to explore the natural world.
In this center, I have books, paper, clipboard, journals, post its, sentence strips, word wall cards, name cards, greeting cards, envelopes, pencils, pens, and markers.
This is a center that I am always adding to based on students’ interests. So at Christmas time, I’ll add Christmas cards. And at Valentine’s Day, I’ll add valentines. This is a great place to encourage writing!
It is also important to incorporate gross motor in your students’ everyday learning.
One way I do this is through the Yoga center. At this center, I have two yoga mats (I took one large mat and cut it in half to help my tiny humans), a variety of yoga books (my favorite is here) and Yoga playing cards! I got mine from Scholastic but Shannon (the Super Teacher) also has some in her store here.
Get labels like mine for your preschool centers in my TpT store, Pre-K Jitters!
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