Getting preschoolers involved in classroom setup

Sometimes we, as adults, tend to think we should have everything just perfect and all set up before the children come into the classroom.  I agree that having things organized can help with classroom management and the flow of the classroom day but at the same time, it is also a good idea to save some of the classroom set up for the children to help out with…

This is my fabulous water table that Tristan is helping to fill up.  I have a couple of empty orange juice containers that we use for filling up the water table….

The container is filled full enough of water to get a good amount of water for the water table but not so full that it is too heavy for the children to carry and tip over with control…

Notice how there are towels underneath the water table because yes – water will get on the floor so have a towel or two or three handy for catching the overspills…

Once the water is filled to the desired depth then you will want to add tools for playing with the water or some food color and so on! I think I have strayed from the point of this post but the point was to let children help in the set up of the classroom. Part of good classroom management is learning how to engage the children in the process rather than having them sit and wait while you do all the work. Helping fill the water table will teach them how to care for the classroom and they love being involved in this way too! Besides, why should you be doing all the work when you have so many capable helpers?

As a side note…

In case you are wondering I actually have two classrooms that I share photos from. I share from the classrooms of Learning Time Preschool where I often go in to train teachers and I also now have my studio.

My home classroom (studio) is set up like a classroom but I am working on it right now to prepare for summer time. Tristan’s mom has been kind enough to let Tristan help me out as I get the classroom ready. I will share more about my home classroom environment later as I get it more ready for the summer session.

By |2011-05-01T19:30:52+00:00May 1st, 2011|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Dan May 1, 2011 at 7:43 pm - Reply

    I agree 100% the kids in our room set up the water table each morning and then before leaving for the day they help to drain and clean the items used in the table. I’ve found that this has created a greater respect for the materials offered and less items are mistreated or broken. The kids feel a great sense of responsibility for the water table.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. May 1, 2011 at 10:54 pm - Reply

      Now that’s what I’m talking about Dan! I love it!

  2. jenny May 2, 2011 at 8:41 am - Reply

    Couldn’t agree more Deborah. I was one of those teachers that wanted everything to be set up beautifully before the kids arrived (still do) bu have learnt to step back and give the kids more of a hand and say in what and how we set up each day. So much learning in the process of things, rather than just the end result!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. May 2, 2011 at 10:02 am - Reply

      I still tend to want to set everything up so stepping back and letting the children have more of a say or be more involved is a challenge for me:) But when I do let them – I always see great results!

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