The classroom environments are essential and powerful teaching tools for infants and preschoolers. In fact, the conducive, safe, and nurturing learning environments support learning and play a significant role in the growth and development of toddlers, infants, and preschoolers (Allen & Cowdery, 2014). Such learning environments also help prevent children from developing challenging behaviors and will serve as an integral element of performance intervention for this phase in life. Therefore, it is important to establish a favorable childhood classroom environment to build a healthy and supportive environment that is challenging for learning.
Procedures, Rules with Consequences and Reward System
Children aged between 4 and 5 years are active listeners and learners who examine objects and materials and use them in more multifaceted combinations. At this stage, children are developing emblematic representation while captivating on roles and engaging in socio-dramatic play. In addition, their dialect explodes in their attempts to discover “labels” for items and individuals who exist in their world. Therefore, to effectively support and organize these growth and development abilities, this class will formulate three effective components of a well-designed classroom environment that include:
- A physical environment that entails the entire layout and design of the classroom
- Their temporal environment that includes the timing, length, and sequence of the daily routines that occur throughout the day
- Improve their social environments by ensuring sufficient interactions amid children and teachers and their family members.
Therefore, to ensure that the classroom runs smoothly at all times, this class will operate on a consequence and reward system. In other words, this class will reward pupils who listen to rules and act accordingly while doing what they are supposed to do. In contrast, a consequence will be assigned to those who do not conduct themselves based on the rules set forth. For instance, a withdrawal system will be applied for a child who fails to behave as expected, which will entail removing what they find delight in, such as play, until the behavior is changed. On the other hand, a child who does what he or she is expected to do will be rewarded with prizes such as pencils and small toys and be acknowledged for the good behavior.
Because this learning institution is open to all children irrespective of their race and ethnicity, physical, developmental, emotional or cognitive challenges, it stipulates that our classroom will have a wide range of changing aspects during learning and throughout the playtime. Consequently, to enhance high-quality learning outcomes and satisfy children’s interests and curiosities, which are factors that can bring incredible richness and benefits to children’s lives, the learners physical and social environments will be improved. As such, the physical environment of preschoolers will be designed by organizing the classroom space and materials to maximize the engagement and learning opportunity for every child. In addition, the families will also be included in this physical environment through the creation of a parent communication board. Hence, individuals from the family will also be requested to offer resources that represent the objects their kids use at home. Still, families will also be requested to provide pictures that will be displayed on the wall, a situation aimed at making the child relate to the classroom environment. Moreover, children with special needs and those with disabilities, will be assisted to ensure they get full access to academic play and other learning experiences. Finally, the children’s social learning environments will be designed to support the communications and interactions between teachers and children and their family members. Indeed, the effective social environment will foster positive correlations amid peers and adults and go a long way in enabling preschoolers to achieve their goals.
Academic Play, Classroom Schedule, and Transitions
The academic play is one of the methods that teachers will engage in. When incorporated with other methods of learning, the academic play will ensure the best outcome for preschoolers. In addition, a daily classroom schedule that is fundamental in providing the basic structure of every day will be formulated. In fact, consistency has been shown to give children a sense of security while giving them the freedom and confidence to explore their classroom environment. Nevertheless, extra time may be added if preschoolers are particularly interested in the topic of discussion or activity. Therefore, the daily classroom schedule will entail the following aspects;
- Give priority to the need for children to interact with peers, their learning materials, and teachers
- Respect the need for preschoolers to be active or to rest
- Ensure enough time for children to engage in creative work and to complete activities
- Offer ample time so as to allow children to learn through instructions
It is worth noting that transitions prepare children for a change and help reduce boredom. Therefore, various devices will be applied to ensure an effective transition from one activity to another, including the puppet signal change, finger-plays, and signals and songs.
Classroom Elements that will Support a Positive Learning Environment
It is worth noting that when teachers create a positive classroom environment, the students feel safe, comfortable, and engaged. Therefore, all students, irrespective of their physic, color, or religion, deserve an appealing and conducive environment (Alton-Lee, 2003). Particularly, three major aspects have been found to support positive learning environments for children. First, there is the safety of the preschoolers, which has been shown to be a fundamental element. Notably, research shows that when students feel that they are in a safe environment, their learning outcomes have been shown to improve. Therefore, the plan will also consider the cultural background and the perspectives of the children using the classroom. Therefore, the schoolroom will be made as comfortable as possible to resemble the homes of the young ones. In essence, the charts and other visual materials will be used to facilitate equal learning. Finally, the classroom setup will be set to accommodate challenges and facilitate children’s thinking.
The family background plays an important role in a child’s learning and developmental outcomes (Santora & Anti-Defamation League staff, 2012). Therefore, immediate family members of the children will be included in various classroom activities, such as when formulating the children’s social, physical, and temporal environments. In addition, for any new child, the parents will be required to write an overview letter introducing the child and its needs. Therefore, the approach will ensure that the needs of those of children with mental or physical deformities are met, which will go a long way in providing peace and a feeling of satisfaction to the parents. Additionally, family members will be requested to share details about the tactics and strategies they apply to their respective homes and cultures. In fact, the aspect will be vital because it will enhance social interaction between peers and teachers while incorporating the parents’ belief when guiding and encouraging the children. Therefore, the partnership with families will be critical because it will enhance;
- Understand their expectation for the young one at home
- Share the classroom routine and schedules and to inform of any alterations
- Get an insight of the child’s activities at their respective homes.
Managing Conflicting and Challenging Behavior
Although dealing with conflicting and challenging behaviors is a normal part of the educators’ daily routine program, developing effective management strategies has been shown to enhance learning and development (Dunlap et al., 2013). It is worth mentioning that children are human beings who, at times, get angry; hence, we will teach children how to handle or tame their anger. First and foremost, we will intercede before the child reacts to frustrations through coaching him/her on what to do or say. Secondly, we will explain and teach children about how to manage their emotions through role-playing and discussions. Understanding the cause of the child’s conflicting behavior can also help a great deal with the management of the young learner. While some children develop challenging and conflicting behaviors due to sickness and boredom, others will do so because they are hungry, jealous, or tired. Still, we will work hand in hand with parents because their involvement has been identified as a critical factor that lowers the rates at which challenging behaviors develop in children. Finally, we will apply a positive and constructive approach that will entail giving the children a positive feedback when he does something commendable instead of punishing him or her when they behave inappropriately.
Ever since choosing education as my profession, I have always believed that constructive or negative feedback that is focused, learning-related, timely, and appropriate is the cornerstone of learning and the effective teacher I aspire to be. In fact, I also believe that feedback is the most influential and powerful moderator that plays a vital role in enhancing achievement. Indeed, this knowledge was always lingering in my mind during the entire process of my development of a supportive, healthy, respectful, and challenging learning environment plan. Before the feedback from my class teacher, my classroom environment plan indicated that children were to listen to the books read by the teacher. However, my class teacher emphasized the importance of engaging preschoolers in this exercise. Certainly, class collaboration has been a major initiative that has positively influenced my healthy and supportive classroom plan. I have currently incorporated various activities that engage the children, which has played a critical role in encouraging our interactions.
In addition, working with the collective learning community has also helped me realize my goal of developing an effective, respectful, and supportive learning environment. Indeed, during the entire process, I engaged with the learning community characterized by freedom of interaction and enthusiasm. As a matter of fact, my class teacher’s feedback, along with the collaboration of the collective learning community, has been of major impact to the effective development of a classroom environment plan that would generate a supportive, healthy, and positive learning atmosphere not only in my class but also in the entire school.
Allen, K. E., & Cowdery, G. E. (2014). The exceptional child: Inclusion in early childhood education. Independence, KY: Wadsworth Publishing.
Alton-Lee, A. (2003). Quality teaching for diverse students in schooling: Best evidence synthesis. Wellington: Ministry of Education.
Dunlap, G., Wilson, K., Strain, P., & Lee, J. K. (2013). Prevent, teach, reinforce for young children: The early childhood model of individualized positive behavior support. Baltimore, MD: Brookes.
Santora, L., & Anti-Defamation League staff. (2012). How can you create a learning environment that respects diversity? Retrieved on September, 15, 2016, from http://www.adl.org/assets/pdf/education-outreach/How-Can-You-Create-a-Learning-Environment-That-Respects-Diversity.pdf