The classroom environments where children spend most of their day can impact their emotional well-being, as well as their physical comfort. The look and feel of a learning environment can speak volumes to a child and can serve to make them feel welcome and valued. These feelings can facilitate learning and working cooperatively. There are many easy ways to make your students feel like they matter every time they enter your classroom.
-A thoughtfully designed classroom that has areas that are accessible to all students lets them know they are welcome. There should be enough space for all students to easily move throughout the classroom and there should ideally be different areas to meet different needs. Areas that encourage cooperative learning will build a sense of class community, whereas areas with cushions and other comfortable seating give students who prefer to work individually their own space.
Choose quality, durable furniture made of natural materials that will last. Children will feel valued if they have access to solid, quality pieces that won’t break over time. Consider the sizing of the furniture, as well. Appropriately sized furniture sends children the message that this space belongs to them.
Keep in mind that bright colors can be distracting and even overwhelming for some children. Small amounts of blue and green can help students feel calm, as well as promote creativity. Displaying children’s artwork will give children a sense of pride in their work and will also add color to the classroom.
Bringing in plants and other natural materials will add beauty to your classroom. Allowing plenty of natural daylight to enter the room will create warmth, enhance mood and focus.
Keep your classroom organized and clutter free. Involving your students in the clean-up process will yield even better results, as they will feel a sense of ownership by taking responsibility for their space.
Taking just a few of these steps will create an environment where students feel like they matter. Students who feel safe, nurtured, and respected in their classroom environment will, not only be better learners, but will also be happier and more confident people.
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