How to Set Up a Pre-K Classroom Environment
Creating an appropriate environment for a prekindergarten classroom requires planning and preparation to ensure that the room is safe and inviting for you, your students and their parents. Finding the right environmental setup that works for you and your class may take several attempts. Don't be afraid to try several room configurations before you find one that works for you.
Gather information about your classroom and equipment. Make a list of all the equipment you currently have in your classroom space and all materials and equipment you plan on adding to the room. Measure your room and any large pieces of furniture, such as bookshelves, tables and storage units.
List different areas or centers you want included in your room. Select centers that will meet the needs of your students, such as an art center, a block building area, a carpet area for whole group activities, a dramatic play area, a reading nook and a sensory exploration table.
Create a room plan. Draw your room on paper or use an online planning tool. Add in all of your furniture and activity areas. Try to divide the room into loud and quiet areas, and consider the proximity of a messy art center to a sink or bathroom for ease of cleanup. Place shelves and storage units as barriers between different areas of the room. Check the room flow to ensure that children will be able to access all of the areas without any obstacles and be able to exit the room quickly in case of an emergency.
Review your plan. Return to your final room plan after several days to review it and make any changes. Consider asking another teacher to look over your plan to double-check that your room flow works and that you have included all of your desired stations and centers in appropriate places.
Set up your room. Using your room plan as your guide, arrange your classroom environment the way you have planned. After you have set up the room, get down on the children's level and check that they will be able to reach all necessary supplies and be able to navigate the room freely.
Rearrange your room as needed. After you have your room established, do not be afraid to make small changes as necessary. If you decide that your setup is not working at all, create a new plan and try again.