Organized childcare space can foster positive peer interaction, increase independence, boost self-esteem, and support cognitive development in children. You, as a provider, also benefit from efficient classrooms because chaos is reduced, you are less stressed, and your job is more enjoyable.
Children who attend fulltime daycare can spend up to 9 hours a day in the confines of a classroom. So as an early childhood professional, it is important for you to provide a thoughtfully planned environment that helps support the development of the children in your care. Here are some tips for organizing your childcare space to enhance their learning experiences.
Safety is the most important thing to consider when organizing your space. Mobile infants often pull-up on things, and toddlers love to climb, so the shelves in their classrooms should be anchored to the wall or floor for safety reasons. Also, to prevent tripping hazards, and minimize the risk of being trapped inside during an emergency, walkways and doorways should remain unobstructed.
Keep Classroom Organization Age-Appropriate
Infants and toddlers learn by interacting with their surroundings, so organize classroom materials so they will have plenty of opportunities to interact physically with their environment. Keep soft toys and blocks on bottom shelves so mobile infants can easily reach them. And provide plenty of carpeted space for babies to crawl around.
As children get older they enjoy making choices and being independent. So store materials for toddlers on low shelves so they can access them without assistance. Put labels with corresponding pictures on the shelves and toy bins so kids can easily find what they want.
Clearly Define Learning Areas, and Group Similar Activities Together
Use rugs and shelves to clearly define learning centers so children will know which activity each area is used for. Defining areas will also minimize distractions, and allow children to focus on tasks better. Group similar activities such as dramatic play and blocks together so that children can expand their play possibilities. And it’s best not to put quiet activity centers such as reading next to noisy areas like blocks or music.
If your daycare classroom space is limited, try using one space for dual purposes. For instance, the carpeted area you use for large group activities can double as the block or music area.
Organize Quiet Space for Kids Who Need It
Children in full-day programs can get overwhelmed, and they sometimes need a place to escape the busyness. Since leaving the classroom is not an option, it’s important to provide a comfy, quiet spot where kids can be alone. This space can be a simple corner equipped with large pillows or beanbag chairs.
An organized daycare space can support kids’ development, and improve your overall job satisfaction. When organizing your classroom, remember to keep it safe, simple, and centered around the children’s needs.