Simple ideas for classroom set-up

I am still in the process of getting my classroom set up for the new school year and will be sharing some of my classroom set up and arrangements with you as soon as I can get my act together. In the meantime, I thought I would share some ideas that worked very well for me last year….

Pizza Box Drying Rack

I spent a good part of last school year trying to find placed to leave all of our artwork out to dry until finally I sat down and made my own drying rack! The pizza box drying rack is simply a set of pizza boxes taped together with packing tape.  It is light weight so I can move it anywhere I need it to be and each box is wide enough to store most of our papers.  A real life saver!

File Folder Puzzle Rack

The file folder puzzle rack is simply a metal desk-top file folder organizer that I converted into a puzzle rack. The file folder organizer is pretty heavy so I usually kept it on a wide shelf or on the floor. The children did a terrific job keeping all the puzzle put away in our puzzle rack…

Gutter Book Shelves

 I started out the school year with a regular child-sized bookshelf on my floor but because my classroom has such limited amount of floor space, I decided to add these pieces of gutter to my wall as a book display shelf instead. I went to Home Depot to get the light-weight plastic gutter and had the guy at Home Depot cut it the length I wanted.  The children used the gutter as car ramps for a few weeks but over a long weekend, I put the gutter on the wall to hold all of our books. You can see more about the Gutter Bookshelves here!

Metal Grease Pan Magnetic Board

The white magnetic board you see in the photo below actually started off being a silver metal grease pan which you can purchase at Walmart.  I purchased mine from a local auto supply store and then painted it white on one side and red on the other side. I moved the magnetic board around my classroom depending on the activity we were doing.  When I didn’t have the magnetic board leaning against a wall or set flat on a table, I attached it with Industrial Strength Velcro to the back of a bookshelf which you can see below in the center photo…

A fun year of making new things for my classroom! I look forward to coming up with some new ideas for classroom set-up this school year too!

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By |2018-06-20T22:05:03+00:00August 4th, 2012|

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. Playful Learning Brooklyn August 4, 2012 at 10:19 am - Reply

    The pizza box drying rack – what a great idea!! I just wrote a post yesterday about cardboard and how we reuse it in our classroom. I need to update it and post a link to this 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

    Playful Learning Brooklyn

  2. Linda August 4, 2012 at 10:34 am - Reply

    I love your idea for storing puzzles! Do you think the plastic snap-together trays would work as well? Would they be sturdy enough?
    My husband just picked up rain gutters for me yesterday! I had an opportunity to rearrange one of my classrooms (my room is not condusive to rearranging because of the shelving/storage arrangement)
    Unfortunatley, though I still had a reading corner, there was no room for books (and how can you have an early childhood program without books???) I remebered seeing this idea online and think it will be the perfect solution. I like how the books are displayed face out instead of stacked on shelves or in tubs.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. August 4, 2012 at 6:43 pm - Reply

      I don’t think the snap together trays will hold up to the children pulling the puzzles in and out. Plus, they might be too light weight and easily knocked over. But you could give it a try! I might just be wrong!!

  3. Trish August 4, 2012 at 10:45 pm - Reply

    I love all the ideas. I was wondering though what kind of rules did you set for your class with the gutter shelves?

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. August 5, 2012 at 9:30 am - Reply

      We just talked about how it was important not to try and climb or pull yourself up on the shelves. My class did a very good job taking care of the shelves. One thing I found was that it is also important not to overload the shelves with books so it isn’t too heavy.. Also – if you can add end caps to the gutters, this will make them more sturdy. I really didn’t have any problems other than when I added way too many books to my bottom shelf.

  4. Km August 7, 2012 at 10:08 pm - Reply

    So many terrific ideas for class and home use!!! I hope you havea marvelous upcoming school year!!!!!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. August 7, 2012 at 10:51 pm - Reply

      Thank you Katherine!

  5. Susan Syddall August 8, 2012 at 11:14 pm - Reply

    Love the idea of the pizza box drying rack. I often run out of drying space and hanging things results in the paint running. Thanks for sharing.

  6. andie jaye August 9, 2012 at 12:47 am - Reply

    i still think that pizza box drying rack is the coolest thing!

  7. Susan Case August 11, 2012 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    These are amazing ideas! DIY!

  8. Tanya April 28, 2018 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    Deborah, I have been following you for a very long time and I love your ideas and how you work with the children where they are in their development. I am a preschool teacher with a long list of years under my belt. I am currently getting ready for a new challenge. I will be the director of a child care in a charter school. Previously it was a run down “babysitting” room with no activities at all. I have been hired to turn it in to a high quality child care/ preschool I will have 5 to 7 kiddos ranging in age from 1-4. All of my experience has been working with a classroom of children who are all the same age group. I would love some insight and advice on creating a welcoming ,loving and busy space for a mixed age of kiddos. I I have a wonderful space of 32’x17′ to work with. Bathroom close by but no sink in the classroom. Thank you for any advice you are will in to give. I will keep you posted on my journey if you would like.

    • Deborah Stewart June 8, 2018 at 3:13 pm - Reply

      Yes, keep me posted on your progress Tanya!

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