Room layout

Salehurst makeover

New environment makes a massive impact

"The new furniture layout had a massive impact on the children and their learning."
- Andrew McGregor, Head Teacher, Salehurst CoE Primary School

The Reception classroom was worn out, and so were the teachers by the end of the day. Over one weekend, the old furniture was replaced with a brand new layout, divided into interest areas. The staff were amazed what a difference the new environment had on their children.

"It's so amazing seeing our classroom transformed," says Reception class teacher, Sian Rice. "Getting the environment right is absolutely fundamental to the children's learning and wellbeing. If you get it right the children will be calm, they'll be engaged, they'll be focused and they'll gain so much out of their time there."

Watch the children's faces as they enter their classroom on Monday morning.

welcome area

Plan for transitions

Six weeks into the new school year and things should be settling down. Are they? What about the critical moments of your schedule such as arrival, changes in activities, and departure time?

Adapting to change is an important life skill, one few of us can say we have mastered. Yet children live in the now. They can't feel secure when they have the feeling that something is going to happen but they don't know when.

Helping children to make sense of the things out of their control – like time – is one way of providing security for them. When given predictable routines and prompts as to what's coming next, children quickly become secure and focus on play and learning.

Read the full article by Kay Albrecht and Jennifer Fiechtner for advice on developing a classroom routine to ease transition times for children and help their parents feel part of the team.

 

Little Crickets

Little Crickets: a pack-away case study

"In the very beginning the cricket club really didn’t want a nursery on this site," Sian of Little Crickets Nursery explained to me. "They thought we were going to leave it looking like a nursery while they were playing cricket. So part of the criteria of the lease is that we absolutely leave no trace of ourselves when we pack away."

There are many passionate Sians out there creating quality environments for children in less-than-ideal circumstances. This is to affirm your daily labour of love in pack-away settings.

See the Little Crickets case study here.

uncluttered

Time for spring cleaning

The storage cupboard overflowed with piles of games, equipment and donated items at a nursery I visited. The pink plastic castle was something the nursery didn't want, "But we had to keep it because Olivia's mother gave it to us and we wouldn't want to hurt her feelings." They certainly didn't need three move-the-beads-along-the-wire boards  one would have sufficed.

A cluttered play environment can make children restless and unfocused. When toys do not lead to deep engagement, children are easily distracted and tend to flit between occupations. Having more stuff certainly does not make children happier and often stifles imagination. Since less equipment requires more imagination, try trimming back to a few open-ended toys and see what happens.

Martin

P.S. The calm environment at this setting enables this child to pursue his imagination without distractions.

Benedict Primary School

Well-designed classrooms boost academic success

A recent study from Salford University found that the construction and decoration of classrooms had a significant impact on reading, writing and maths. Professor Barrett who led the research told the BBC: "Individual classroom design played a much bigger role than whole-school factors, such as size, navigation routes, specialist facilities and play areas. In a primary school a child's classroom is their world. So when you are designing a school, you have to make sure each and every classroom works."

The environment is often called the ‘third teacher’ because a truly enabling classroom is a friend to the children and your own best assistant. The first step in arranging your classroom is to regard it from a child’s-eye view. Imagine yourself as a new student standing in the doorway. Does the room entice you to enter and explore? See what happened when this school changed their classroom layout...

Search or browse our learning library

Filter by topic or type