Setting up a child-centered classroom

One of my jobs is to oversee the set-up of classrooms at our school. I have been trying to take some photos as I go along in some of the classrooms so I can share with you some pointers that work for me but the more I work on the classrooms, the more I think of that needs to be considered. If I try to write out every thing that needs to be considered when setting up a classroom, I would need to write an entire book. So for today, I am going to just talk about baskets!

Choosing Baskets

Choosing baskets may seem like a silly place to start but I can’t tell you how much time I invest in trying to find baskets that fit all the shelves we have in each classroom.  Some of our shelves were built and others were bought from various locations so finding baskets that fit neatly on each shelf is always a challenge.

Lately, I have been hitting the jackpot at the Dollar store. These baskets are bright, colorful, plastic, sturdy, and durable. Because the baskets will get a lot of use, they need to last and we need to be able to wipe them down. At one point, we bought some really pretty canvas covered baskets which looked terrific for about a month and then they started wearing down and getting dirty. Because they were canvas, we couldn’t wash them so I am now switching them out for something else.

Another thing I like to do is to coordinate our baskets so the children can easily remember where they got a basket out and where to put it back when they are done playing. I want the classroom as a whole to make sense to the children.

In some shelves I will put baskets that have a variety of shapes and sizes. This depends on what I plan to keep in those baskets.

With the exception of things like floor puzzles, I like everything to be in a basket where the items just say “Play with me!”

I also purchase baskets with lids so they can be stacked on top of each other or just because they came with lids. But putting a lid on every basket is not something I set out to do. My focus is always on ways to make the items accessible and manageable to the children.

I will continue to build my collection of baskets for each shelf but as I do, I have to think about what will go inside each basket. I will save that for another blog post:)

Links to Grow On…

How to Clean Up the Preschool Classroom

Labeling Your Baskets and Shelves

Adding things to do in your child centered classroom

Shelves in the child-centered classroom

Where do you put things to dry?

Visit Pre-k Pages for additional photos and ideas for setting up classroom centers


Deborah J Stewart

Deborah J Stewart

Every time I think I know everything I need to know about teaching young children, God says, "Hold on a minute!" and gives me a new challenge.

Let me tell ya...

With each new challenge that you overcome, you will find yourself better equipped and more passionate about teaching young children.

God didn't call wimps to lead, teach, or care for His children. Nope, he has high expectations, so get ready. You will have to give your very best but after teaching for over 30 years, I can tell you that it is a wonderful and rewarding journey.

Whenever your calling feels hard, just remember, 'He who began a good work in you (and in the children you serve) will be faithful to complete it.'

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