Early childhood educators have the potential to shape the ways a child thinks. In order to create tomorrow’s strong, innovative thinkers, we need to teach our kids to be creative. It all starts in the classroom.
The design of the classroom, although easily overlooked, can have a major effect on the overall feeling and culture of a class. Collaborating with children to create a safe space for everyone means that they will feel encouraged and inspired to share their ideas.
Here are a few simple ways to take your classroom design up a notch. Remember: each classroom is different, and you know your students best!
Displaying Student Artwork
Although buying posters for your classroom can be fun and result in an aesthetically pleasing design, it isn’t very personal. Instead, try displaying your students’ artwork.
You can do this by letting students know that any time they create something, they are welcome to hang it up on the wall (bonus points if you provide the sticky tack!). Doing so gives kids the power over their own space, which translates to empowered learning and decision-making.
Other teachers opt for more thought-out displays of student projects, Click here for some great ideas for how to do so!
In order to add a little ray of sunshine to your classroom, try creating an “affirmation station” to encourage students to compliment each other! It’ll feel like Valentine’s Day every day-- and your students will learn about open communication and caring for others.
If you want to go a different route, you could put up a mirror and hang up affirmations all around it as a border. These affirmations could be written on Post-It notes by the students, or you can go a more uniform approach and make your own.
Plants in the Classroom
Want a way to add some life to your classroom, particularly during the colder months? Try adding some plants!
Students can care for the plants in a similar way that they would care for a classroom pet. We loved watching Becca De La Plants create a plant haven in her classroom -- see for yourself below:
We recommend a golden or silver pothos-- they’re readily available at grocery stores, Lowe’s, or Home Depot and often around the $10-20 price point.
They are pretty resilient plants, so they can deal with some lower light days and a missed watering or two. Plus, organizing the long vines can be a fun activity. If your pothos grows long enough, you can drape its vines all over the classroom walls, ceilings & shelves!
Extra idea: Near the end of the year, take clippings of the pothos plant and begin propagating many little baby pothos plants. A few weeks later, give each child a newly propagated plant with sprouted roots. Kids can decorate pots, plant their pothos and take home a souvenir of their best year of school yet!
A New Way to Pair Up
Encouraging children to complete activities in pairs is a great way to teach listening skills and help them meet new people. We love the idea of using these free buddy match up cards to shake things up a bit!
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