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Create an Ideal Indoor and Outdoor Learning Environment at your Child Care Facility!

Date Published: Aug, 28 2013

As your new students adapt to their new classmates, teacher and classroom, keep in mind your classroom environment and the significant role it plays in the success of your class. Although each classroom setup will be unique due to classroom size, the layout of your space and the individual needs of each class and teacher, the principles of organization and staying clutter free remain the same. The way your classroom is set up should create the perfect teaching environment for the teacher and the ideal learning environment for the students.

Part of that ideal environment is your outdoor space. Your outdoor classroom is an extension of the indoor classroom. Taking the time to think about the playground area and how it's set up is equally important.

Below we've included a list of some things to keep in mind when you're planning your indoor and outdoor learning environment.

  1. Think about the route your students will move through from one learning center to another. What will they see along the way? Are there distractions on their path making easy transitions more difficult? Make sure the layout of your classroom and your outdoor play area makes sense to you and your students.
  2. Think about day-to-day activities and minimize clutter and distractions. For instance, windows are wonderful but sometimes what's going on outside can distract your students. Do you expect this to be a problem in your classroom? Reduce the distraction with a fun preschool craft: Tissue paper “stained glass”.
  3. Do you have a classroom carpet that will facilitate learning and help with classroom management? Consider a carpet with clear symbols, like letters or shapes, and assign each child a symbol that makes settling down for circle time easy and fun.
  4. Make sure you know where you can find materials you use daily. As your class gets going, extra time wasted looking for supplies will be a thorn in your side. Check out this Over-the-Door Shoe Holder idea for organizing your supplies on a budget!
  5. Similarly, all toys and materials should have a place and a label with a picture marking where it belongs so students can easily identify and access materials. For an enhanced literacy-rich environment, you can also label general items throughout the class, like the clock, sink, plants, etc.
  6. When you begin your lesson planning, think of both indoor and outdoor activities that complement each other and the curriculum. Create organized lessons by subject, such as sensory play, dramatic play, etc., and keep them organized and easily identifiable with labeled tabs in a binder or containers.
  7. Outdoor play doesn't need to be limited to gross-motor play.  When thinking about your outdoor classroom, consider the layout and available learning activities. Is there a place to park tricycles, making it clear where they belong? Have you included equipment conducive to sensory learning, such as a water center, sand box or nature bowl? Do you have proper surfacing?
  8. Remember that the outdoor environment is simply an extension of your classroom. Consider playground equipment that promotes socialization as well as learning standards such as sensory experiences, fine and gross motor development, creative expression, and music and movement. Bring learning outdoors!

This list includes just a few key things to think about when you are planning your indoor and outdoor classrooms. To read more about organization and planning visit our BYO Blog and TSS Blog, or call us at 1-800-853-5316 to speak to an Early Childhood Specialist!

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