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How to Create a Peaceful Early Learning Classroom

Nov 15, 2019    |   Early Learning Spaces & Routines

Early learning classrooms are full of energy, noise, and lots of activity. While this can make the classrooms feel fun and exciting, it can also sometimes feel a little overwhelming. We all want our children to feel welcome to explore and move in the classroom, but also want to ensure that we maintain a healthy energy level that does not get out of control.

When the classroom energy level gets too high, children start to use louder voices, move more quickly, and have a harder time staying engaged in their learning. Below are some recommendations for maintaining balance and encouraging a more peaceful classroom  environment.

  1. Start with yourself. The children are much more likely to stay calm if their leader is calm. Maintaining your own headspace is an important part of the classroom energy. Remember to take a few deep breaths when things feel overwhelming, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from a director or co-teacher.

  2. Be open to changes in the classroom’s schedule. The classroom schedule should be flexible, enabling you to make adjustments as needed to maintain a balanced flow of energy and activities. If there is a time of the day that feels particularly hectic, you might consider making changes to help things flow. Your classroom’s  set-up, schedule, and curriculum will require ongoing updates to support the evolving needs of the children.

  3. Use fresh flowers and plants. Bringing nature into your classroom is an easy way to make the room feel more like home. When children bring in flowers from home or plants they find during outside play, put them in a vase in your classroom. If you have live plants, invite children to help water them. This will encourage children to take pride in the classroom and feel a sense of ownership in maintaining and respecting the room.

  4. Incorporate a mindfulness routine for the children. Teaching mindfulness skills to young children gives them important skills that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Mindfulness helps children learn healthy ways to balance their own energy, deal with frustration, and regulate their emotions. Mindful.org shares a brief exercise to introduce “children to ways of seeing the strength and beauty of nature within themselves.”

  5. Keep a clean classroom, avoiding clutter. Classrooms can feel overwhelming when there are too many options. Your materials should not all be out at the same time, but rather rotated regularly to provide new options for children when they are showing less interest in a particular material. About once a month, rotate books to include seasonal and relevant stories and rotate dramatic play items to introduce new, fresh experiences for children.

  6. Think about your classroom atmosphere. Lighting makes a huge difference in the mood of a room. If your program has harsh fluorescent lighting, consider putting a few lamps around the room and using those instead. BrightHub Education recommends playing soft, peaceful classical music in the background or using essential oils (such as lavender) to help make the classroom feel peaceful.

  7. Get kids moving. If children in your classroom seem to have a bad case of the wiggles, it might help to create more scheduled time in your routine for them to get their energy out. Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds reminds, “when little kids need to move, they are telling you something. Rather than fight it, embrace it. If you can get the kids outside for a longer recess, or if you have access to a gym, GO. Let them run and climb and throw balls. If you can’t do that, find the biggest area of your classroom…find upbeat music, and invite your preschoolers to move their entire bodies.”

  8. Avoid surprises. Children thrive when they are in routine and know what to predict. HiMama points out that when we see children acting out, it might be caused by anxiety or the stress of unanticipated new activities. The best way to keep children calm is to prepare them for the day and stick to the schedule.

  9. Create a cozy corner. A cozy corner is an area of the classroom with blankets, pillows, books, and soft things where children can go for rest and comfort.  Community Playthings notes that cozy corners and “spaces can play a key educative role.” Children spend a lot of time in their childcare center, so educators should ensure that children feel comfortable by providing spaces for children to relax. You can arrange rugs, pillows, bean bag chairs and books to create a cozy corner where children can lie down and be alone. Remember that these corners should be as separate from the rest of the classroom as possible. Try not to put a cozy corner next to an area that is especially loud.

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