Designing classrooms from a young child’s perspective

Here are some ideas for making sure children feel safe and excited about learning

2. A moment to pause: The emotional environment is as important as the physical. Children need to have a place where they can breathe when needed. Educators should create an island that is a calm space with comfortable seating, books, and other objects that can allow kids to take a brief break.

3. A moment to connect: The children, parents, and educators need to connect at the beginning and the end of the day. This may not only be rituals for saying hello and goodbye to the kids but can extend to the layout of the room. Don’t have the sign-in/sign-out sheet at the doorway, for example. Put it further in the room so that educators have a chance to greet the parents during drop-off and pick-up and tell them about their child’s day.

Changing the layout of the room to a child-centric focus can provide important benefits. When the view from the door engages the children, it eases their transition from the outside into the world inside the classroom. Similarly, when the children’s view isn’t blocked by backs of cabinets and cubbies, they can see all of the activities that the room has to offer and their viewpoint is expanded. Finally, designing classrooms from the child’s perspective increases the students’ focus and engagement.

“We can design spaces that preserve the magic and the wonder of childhood by creating places that allow children to simply be children. It’s what children need, and it’s certainly what they deserve,” said Dr. Duncan.

About the Presenter
Dr. Sandra Duncan is an early childhood educator specializing in classroom design and its impact on children’s interaction with the classroom environment. With almost 50 years of experience in the early care and education field, Dr. Duncan has extensive experiences in publishing curricula and teacher resources, playing with young children, training early childhood professionals, teaching at the university level, designing professional development programs, working with parents and CDA candidates, and authoring several books. She is the author of Inspiring Spaces for Young Children; Rating Observation Scale for Inspiring Spaces (ROSIE); Rethinking the Classroom Landscape: Creating Environments that Connect Young Children, Families, and Communities; and Bringing the Outside In: Ideas for Creating Nature-Based Classroom Experiences for Young Children as well as numerous articles on early childhood environments and connecting children with nature.

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This edWeb broadcast was sponsored by Gryphon House. The recording of the edWebinar can be viewed by anyone here.

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