Play can provide opportunities for growth and development regarding social and emotional domains, having play in the classroom and outside allows the children to play with others and develop a social system and a sense of self. When children play, they learn to turn and talk to one another, they also learn on how to follow the rules of the classroom and the playground. A must is how to handle winning and losing in a game. By the child engaging in these practices it will help the child have a sense of self control and a sense of one’s self. Play can be an outlet for the children to build their large muscles and their balancing skills. One of the main benefits of playing outside for children is having them work on their locomotor skills. These skills involve movement such as running, jumping, hopping, climbing and skipping. That is just to name a few. Children who have play in their daily routine will experience overall good health. By playing outside, this will give the child the opportunities to gain muscle strength and coordination. Were as if the child just wants to sit at home and play’s video games all day, this can lead to a very unhealthy lifestyle. It is important that children spend time playing outdoors with friends so they can experience cognitive, social, emotional and physical benefits. It is also important for teachers to support and challenge children, by designing games and providing appropriate interventions for the children to interact with each other on the playground. By providing these interventions it will endure new possibilities for the children to experience. It is important to have a variety of equipment available for the children to play a specific sport. For an example, if the new intervention is to introduce tennis to the class. It is important to make sure that they have a tennis racquet and tennis balls for each child to use. By having all the supplies for this sport, the children can engage and have fun instead of fighting over just one or two tennis racquets.
The Primary Classroom Set Up.
The classroom should have specific areas set up for specific activities. Aesthetics is very important in the classroom setting. Children need to have daily duties and responsibilities such as watering the plants and changing the calendar daily to the correct date. By providing these duties in the classroom, it gives the children the feeling of belonging and a feeling of personal competence.
Areas of the Classroom.
It is important that the classroom environment makes the students feel welcome, safe and secure. By providing this type of environment, it will help support the students emotional and social development.
The entrance and the exit of the classroom.
This area should be safe and free of any clutter and objects. The entrance should provide the child an area where they can put away their jackets and backpacks. The doors should be labeled, entrance and exit. The doors will be decorated with the current holiday or season. For example, if it’s Easter time, have decorations of the Easter bunny up on the door. Also try to incorporate all the children’s names that are in the class on the door or outside of the classroom.
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Large Meeting Space - this is usually an area where the whole class will meet and sit together. This space can be a large carpet that has a design on it. Some carpets will have the alphabet on it and each student will have their own assigned spot to sit on. Having this in the classroom makes the child feel safe and it gives them a since of routine. The children will know where they will always sit when it comes to gathering time on the carpet. This area should have an easel for the teacher to use to display the activity that the class is working on or the book that the class is reading. Read out louds will be presented to the children at this space, also class meetings can happen here. For example, if a practice fire drill is going to happen on that day, the teacher can use this space to talk to the students about the fire drill and explain to them what is expected of them.
Small Group Work Spaces -These are areas when the children can work together, or they can work alone. Also, the teacher can work with a small group of children, but they should try to keep the student count to no more than five students. For example, the teacher may want to work on reading or the alphabetic chart with a handful of students, this type of setting allows more one on one time with the teacher and the students. Small groups can meet in the large area where the carpet is, or they can meet at a small table or the students can sit on the floor. When the students meet on the floor for their small group, they can play games, such as an educational board game or having math tubs available for the children to use and sort out. By having different math manipulative and games available for the children will spark an interest for them to learn more about math. For instance, having blocks and cylinders will provide the students with the founding basics of geometry. These geometry figures are a staple in every classroom. Legos can be fun for both boys and girls and this will help develop their eye and hand coordination, this will also strengthen the child’s small motor skills. Research performed by “Silberman (1996) states that classroom conditions are important in active learning, and the classroom should be arranged in a way allowing the teacher and children to communicate comfortably.”
Individual Work Places - First the child will need a place to store their jackets, lunch box and backpack. Next each child will have their own desk space. Or some teachers use tables instead of desks. If tables are used, then the student will have their own assigned spot to sit. It is the student’s responsibility to keep their desk or area neat and clean. The classroom should have a cool down spot or chill zone. This is an area for students that need a brain break or time out to be able to rethink what they were doing.
Storage and Equipment - Labels are to be put on all the items so the students understand were to put the items and materials back. The materials should always be stored away neatly. At the beginning of the school year the teacher will hold a meeting regarding how to clean up the classroom and where everything is stored. Also making the students aware that it is there responsibility to clean up and not leave their area or the classroom a mess.
Materials such as pencils, crayons, markers, glue sticks and scissors will have their own containers for storage. The teacher will need to replace worn out and materials. “The classroom arrangement should allow children to use materials actively.” (Huber, 2000).
The Block and Math Center.
The children should have a variety of blocks to play with, these can be from wood unit blocks to Lego blocks. Their also should be different math manipulative for children to use for counting and sorting the manipulatives. There should be brightly colored cubes for building and counting. “Learning environments should be arranged in a way improving creative thinking. Methods such as drama, problem-solving and brainstorming make the active learning process functional and support creative thinking.” (Pekdogan & Kanuk, 2016).
The Book Center or Library.
This area is an inviting space for the children to relax and read some books. By having couches and comfy chairs makes this area an excellent choose for the children to read books or put on a puppet show. Another great area to have is a project area for the children to use. This is very helpful when the class is undertaking projects such as painting and gluing. Having a drying rack/stand to hold the students work in, so it can dry without getting bumped by other classmates. This is a great item to have in the classroom. It is important to have a display of visual materials around the classroom. Visual materials can be items such as posters which will have the classroom rules on it. Also having the daily schedule of the class flow. These visuals need to be posted at eye level, so the children can see them. There should be an area for displaying the students work, having their work on display makes the children feel a sense of ownership of the room. Making sure that everything happens on time during the school day can impact a teacher and the students. For example, if the school is having an assembly and it happens when it’s center time, this may through off the whole day. Temporal environment is a term that refers to timing, sequence of the days and the routines that the children go through. Having these schedules and routines in place creates a sense of security for the children.
Children engaging in different activities.
It is very important to have the children engage in high energy activities as well as low energy activities. Children should be given the opportunities to move around the classroom throughout the day. Transitions in the classroom can cause problems with certain children, some children may be so engaged at play that they do not want to go to lunch or read a book together as a class. They will rebel and may cause the class to go off schedule. One way to prevent this from happing is to give cues to the students as to when it is time to transition. Usually a two-minute warning would work, a ringing of a bell, then verbally saying out loud two more minutes until clean up time. By providing these tips it will help the students move throughout the schedule without any glitches.
By providing play and literacy together will hopefully spark the interest of the students. By providing the students with independent reading time and engaging books that the student will want to find other books just like the one that they had just finished reading. Writing is also very important to have at this center, having the student write about different stories in a read log, will help them keep track of the books that they have read throughout the year. The teacher should try to encourage the students to have fun with their writing. By pulling the students into a small group and focusing on spelling and spacing of their sentences. This is a great bonding activity with the teacher and student. It is so critical that the classroom environment is welcoming, predictable and a developmentally appropriate environment for the children. By incorporating these items into the classroom, this will help the children develop skills that will lead them to success in school and out of school.
- Silberman, M. (1996).Active Learning: 101 strategies to teach any subject. Pearson Higher Education.
- Huber, L. K. (2000). Promoting multicultural awareness through dramatic play centers. Early Childhood Education Journal, 27(5), 234-239.
- Pekdoğan, S., & Kanak, M. (2016). A Qualitative Research on Active Learning Practices in Pre-school Education. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 4(9). doi:10.11114/jets.v4i9.1713
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