How to set up a nursery school classroom

How to set up a nursery school classroom
How to set up a nursery school classroom

The classroom of a preschool needs to be educational, safe and engaging. Even if some aspects vary according to the different countries and national regulations, the way of arranging it is mainly universal. Turning a preschool classroom into a fun and safe environment is crucial for children's development and for their mental health!


Part 1 of 8: set up the classroom

Set Up a Preschool Classroom Step 1

Step 1. Start by choosing a name

You can use your real name or choose one after the name of an animal, clothing, food, street or place (eg Madame giraffe), the name must be appealing to children.

Set Up a Preschool Classroom Step 2

Step 2. Define the round table times (children's meeting, sitting in a circle)

It is the central part of any kindergarten classroom and for that you should put a lot of time and effort into making it attractive to both students and their parents. A few things that a circle or round table should have:

  • a calendar,
  • books for the teacher (not available for children during the day and only used during round table hours or during oral readings with the teacher),
  • a CD player for all audio books and song or dance activities,
  • a cork, white or felt board to place your round table time elements, on which you can put:

    • the letter or word of the week,
    • the Spanish word of the week,
    • the star of the day,
    • the list of daily tasks,
    • the class constitution (list of rules, preferably drawn up by the children),
    • a schedule for the day or the week,
    • a "homework" space (optional activities to do at home),
    • a wheel of emotions,
    • a table for the weather forecast,
    • information on the topic (s) of the week or month.
Set Up a Preschool Classroom Step 3

Step 3. Think about lockers and storage

Coat racks, shoe boxes or locker shelves can be used as storage spaces for children whose names should be clearly displayed. You can choose to create a separate space for lunch boxes and water bottles to avoid clutter.

Set Up a Preschool Classroom Step 4

Step 4. Don't forget the teacher's supplies

In addition to the basic supplies that should be offered by your preschool, here are a few items that you might need to request or purchase on your own, such as:

  • art supplies
  • books (classified by theme or by author)
  • office supplies
  • storage tools
  • disguises
  • kitchen utensils
  • household products
  • material for the display panel
  • the lesson organization book
  • learning guides

Part 2 of 8: create zones

Set Up a Preschool Classroom Step 5

Step 1. Compartmentalize

Zones are places in your classroom organized for specific activities. Expect their creation to be difficult. Try to create an area for learning science and math. You can also contact associations such as “Les petits resourceful” to organize workshops.

Set Up a Preschool Classroom Step 6

Step 2. Have them work on math and science

There are many aspects to these toys or activities, but many are fine motor skills training toys.

  • Patterned toys such as colorful bears or shapes are great for understanding space. The “Melissa & Doug” brand is a very good resource for this.
  • Several things can be installed in the painting area and a lot of toys can be purchased, but you can just make gouache available and display a color wheel to encourage children's creativity.
  • Use your weekly or monthly theme to your advantage: for example, use ladybug spots to make an addition game or the “The Caterpillar That Makes Holes” book to encourage pattern recognition.
  • In the spring, go hunting for insects that you will keep for one or two days: shops sell ants, caterpillars (thus butterflies) and earthworms (for the compost bins of the classes) for educational purposes.
Set Up a Preschool Classroom Step 7

Step 3. Lay out all the areas

There must be a large number of things to handle in the common areas:

  • Lego
  • construction games
  • minifigures and toy cars
  • stuffed animals
  • a Mr Potato
  • letters and numbers (in magnet, felt or plastic)
  • construction logs (Kapla for example)
  • modeling clay or salt dough
Set Up a Preschool Classroom Step 8

Step 4. Make a reading nook, considered a quiet place

Limit the number of children allowed in this place to 2 or 3, because beyond this number it could degenerate into role play. Fill it with books that match the age of the children and the theme of the day.

Part 3 of 8: Develop fine motor skills

Set Up a Preschool Classroom Step 9

Step 1. Use cubes

They are not only excellent for fine motor skills, but also very popular in all kindergarten classes. The different kinds of cubes you can acquire for this area are virtually endless, but basic wooden cubes are enough for most kids to create anything from New York City to the castle of their dreams.

Part 4 of 8: Developing gross motor skills

Set Up a Preschool Classroom Step 10

Step 1. Get out

Ideally, you should go outside every day, but in reality there are days when the weather does not allow it. Make sure that there are gross motor learning activities possible inside, although this "zone" can be kept in a closet until the appropriate time since it can take up space and children may be tempted to use it during teaching hours. For fun indoor activities, think about what you loved to do as a kid.

Set Up a Preschool Classroom Step 11

Step 2. Here are some examples of activities that promote gross motor skills

  • Bowling with toilet paper rolls and a big ball.
  • Music CDs for dancing.
  • Obstacle races. Encourage the children to be creative and build their own race using materials found in class. You can use hoops, balancing games (or just a line made of scotch tape), and studs.
  • Hopscotch (which can be made from scotch tape) is a great activity for learning gross motor skills.
  • You can also search for different exercises such as stretching, aerobics or easy yoga and do them in a dedicated area.

Part 5 of 8: create an area for the theater

Set Up a Preschool Classroom Step 12

Step 1. Bring it to life

This area should change at least monthly and be based on the weekly or monthly theme. It could be for example a puppet theater when they learn fairy tales, a small airport with luggage and passports for the cultures of the world or a small post for learning to read addresses.

You can add costumes, makeup and accessories. Try to limit makeup if you even use it, as there is no need to encourage its use at such a young age

Part 6 of 8: Thinking about the creative hour

Set Up a Preschool Classroom Step 13

Step 1. Promote free art

Some teachers forget about this activity because most classes have a daily art project. But these are not enough! Children need access to art, not just for their own amusement, but also for the development of fine motor skills, their learning of literature and their creative expression.

  • Scraps of paper and pencils are a bare minimum, but feel free to let them use round-tipped scissors, markers, or even gouache.
  • Limit the number of children allowed in the area at one time or it may escalate.
  • You can even set up easels for one or two people for free painting - this can encourage more stubborn children to learn about letters and shapes.
Set Up a Preschool Classroom Step 14

Step 2. Display the works

Children should be proud of their work. Having their plans posted is important to them and their families. Have each child hang up at least some of their work.

Part 7 of 8: have a sensory space

Set Up a Preschool Classroom Step 15

Step 1. Be creative

It might seem like an easy area to set up, but a lot of teachers aren't creative enough. Having fun with different toys in rice or water is not long fun. Don't be afraid of stains, but consider using blouses or old t-shirts! Some creative ideas:

  • "dough" made with various kitchen items (a simple recipe is to mix corn starch (cornstarch), water and food coloring),
  • a "garden" with soil, shovels, watering cans and pearls to make the seeds,

    Set Up a Preschool Classroom Step 16
  • sand where dinosaur fossils are hidden to be found with brushes and magnifying glasses,
  • an aquarium with pebbles, small houses, fake fish and plants,
  • a painting workshop with brushes and water-based paints.

Part 8 of 8: having puzzles and thinking games

Set Up a Preschool Classroom Step 17

Step 1. Have lots of games

Educational games and puzzles are not only crucial for learning fine motor skills, but also for the different skills that each puzzle emphasizes. There are games that focus on models, math, emotions, dinosaurs, and just about anything you can imagine. Consider renewing this area by adding puzzles or games related to your theme and putting aside games that children are bored with or that are not suitable.

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