Getting Ready for the New School Year!

September (and sometimes August depending on where you live) brings the start of a new school year for many children. Enrollment in September for preschoolers and younger, tend to rise as many stay-at home parents tend to go back to work and after many children have had their summer birthdays. For early childhood educators, this is the time to reinvent your classroom. Start fresh and make changes that will make your life easier.

Here are some tips to consider when thinking of how you want the flow of your room to operate….

First, you want to be sure you have enough materials. Obviously this is occasionally beyond our control, and we are often limited to budgets, so plan accordingly. Think of the items that you will tend to run out of, and try to prioritize those items on your “wish list.” For example, kids love to paint, so be sure you have enough paint on hand.

Second, you want to be sure your room can accommodate all of the materials you have. You want your classroom to not only look appealing and welcoming, but also function in a way that you want. Think about how things went for you last year, then make the necessary changes. If you are a new teacher, visualize your daily routine and think about how the children will access everything in your room. How will you access everything?

Be sure you have options and provide choices to all the children in your care. This means that some materials may fit into one or more stations or centers. For example, a child may want to build with Legos and with wooden blocks, so be sure to have both available in the center. You will also want to be sure you are labeling everything, and use pictures if possible. When students are exposed to print, it becomes easier for them to understand and recognize. Use pictures of items on bins and containers as well, to help students identify print has meaning. It will also allow you to accommodate for children who are unable to read as of yet.

Finally, you want your room to remain fresh throughout the year. This can happen simply by swapping toys and books for other toys and books you have in the closet. Or maybe you switch with another early childhood educator in your school/building/nearby neighbor. You exchange books to keep choices new and you can exchange games and toys to hold children’s interests.

Above all, don’t forget it is all about the fun! If you are having fun, the children will also, and they may even learn something while they’re at it!