Back-to-school season means a lot of different things to a teacher. For starters, it means no more sleeping in! It also means that you are about to meet an entire new group of students that you will be working closely with for the next 9 months. With every new group of students, there come many changes. You will have to learn new names, understand new personalities, possibly modify your curriculum, and last but not least, design your new classroom environment!
Creating the perfect classroom environment can be quite the challenge. You need your classroom to be comfortable and practical, but above all, you should strive for a creative environment that inspires your children to want to learn! It is inevitable that some children will simply not want to be in class, but with the right learning environment, even the most stubborn of children will open up to the idea of learning. We have done some research and found a few key pointers that you can use to establish an effective and creative classroom environment.
Make Your Children Feel at Home in Class – In the past, it was always assumed that classrooms had to consist of 20-something desks lined up facing the chalkboard. While it is certainly true that this can help with organization, it can create a stagnant, boring classroom environment for the children. Giving a classroom more of a “home” feeling can drastically improve comfort for the children. Instead of single desks, opt for smaller couches or chairs. Have comfortable rugs for the kids to sit on. Have areas designed specifically for R&R. All of these things will help the kids associate the classroom with home and can immediately help them to become more receptive to learning.
Use Your Kids to Help Design the Classroom – It’s no secret that children love to feel involved. When you let the children help you decorate and organize the classroom, not only will they feel involved, but it will get their creative juices flowing, and it will give them more of a sense of ownership of their classroom. These decisions can range from where to place furniture, all the way to creating pieces of art to hang on the walls. Doing this will help children become more creative and excited about going to school.
Incorporate Themes – Nothing helps the learning process better than being submerged in the culture of what you’re learning about. If your class is learning about different nations, decorate the classroom according to the areas you are studying. If you are learning about animals, create a zoo-like atmosphere in the classroom. Children learn from all five of their senses; not just from hearing you talk about a certain topic. If they can hear facts about a certain culture while simultaneously feeling like they are a part of the culture, their learning will become much more effective.
Play to Your Own Strengths – This one may seem simple, but it is often overlooked. Many teachers believe that there is a certain “system” their teaching and classroom environment must follow, but in most cases, that is not true. You became a teacher first and foremost because you were passionate about teaching children and because you felt you had something to offer them. Let these passions be reflected in your classroom. Organize your desk in a way that flows the way you want it to. Decorate the walls with pictures and places you love. Have your classroom become an extension of who you are as a teacher. Doing these things will help you become a more passionate teacher, and that will help your children become more passionate learners!