Classroom makeover

Salehurst Primary School

Staff from this primary school worked together with Community Playthings to redesign their Reception classroom. Then over the weekend the new equipment was set in place. Watch the children’s faces as they enter their new environment on Monday morning, and hear from the staff about the difference it makes!

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Before the makeover, my classroom was generally quite chaotic. I'd say it was a bit loud, the children, were easily distracted.

Community Playthings designed the whole classroom and the classroom afterwards was just completely transformed. Before the new set up, the classroom had rather a worn out look about it. The furniture had been there for many years.

They weren't as focused as we'd like. We tried quite hard to get a classroom that we wanted and how much we moved things around. We just couldn't get it to work. The children didn't really respect the environment as much as we would have wanted, and it was just hard work generally.

It wasn't until we had the new furniture, but we realised what a difference it would make.

It was really useful. Working with the Community Playthings team, we felt like they really understood what we wanted for our classroom and that they really understood what children need from a classroom layout. My colleague and I accepted an invitation to go up to see the factory and the display classrooms. We got to meet the team behind it all, and it gave us a really good understanding into how all the equipment works, how the furniture's made. We got to see the kind of things we might have in our classroom at the end of the day, which made us so excited to get it all finished and to see the end product.

We just felt like it was a really valuable experience working so closely with them. Getting the environment right is absolutely fundamental to the children's learning. It's important to create an environment that fosters the children's love of learning and to make them really want to be there. I think if you get the environment right, the children be calm, they'll be engaged, they'll be focused. It's great that you can set the tables that are certain height depended on what activity they're doing, whether it's a sitting activity or standing activity.

So the furniture is just so much lighter and it just makes the classroom look so fresh. And the parents and the staff immediately noticed that.

Having all the natural wood furniture creates a really calming environment. It looks great quality, it feels great quality and it just makes the classroom look much neater.

And the children immediately noticed the difference as soon as they came into the classroom.

It was so amazing seeing our classroom transformed. The children absolutely loved the role play area is one of the first areas they were drawn to on that first day. The other area they're obsessed with it is the block play, not just boys. The girls as well in the language that comes out of them is amazing and they work in huge groups. Building the most amazing thing. All the furniture is so changeable and flexible, and I think that's really key in a reception classroom. And it's really important for us as staff that we can move things to suit their needs or to suit whatever we want from the classroom.

The children's behaviour changed as well. It seemed to have a calming influence on them. It enabled them to be more creative and find their own spaces to play and to work together. They needed to be less competitive with each other for the resources that were there. It's been great to work with Community Playthings. They designed the classroom from the very beginning, and the children's learning has really been enhanced by our partnership with them.
Room design, Block play
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