Create clear visual boundaries, making it apparent to children where learning areas stop and start. Define child care areas with shelving units, equipment with backs, area rugs, etc.
Each learning area should be separate, and its own entity and area.
Strategically arrange your room to eliminate runways. Long, straight isles and paths encourage running.
The Art Area and sand/water play should be located on tile and by sinks if possible, for easy clean up.
Provide visual order, with a senseof logic. Group similar things together. Display materials so that they can be seen in labeled bins, baskets, and boxes.
Avoid having any "blind spots" or areas where children cannot be seen.
Separate quiet and loud areas so that children can respect each other’s play experiences.
Create a soft, quiet area where a child can choose to be alone.
Pull equipment away from the walls. Utilize your equipment to create "nooks" and to visually invite people to come all the way into the classroom.
Have any needed supplies and materials close and accessible to the children (smocks, paper towels, paintbrushes, garbage can, etc) to encourage independence.
Areas should indicate logical use of the materials. For example, if the tables are located right by the manipulative shelf, children are given the cue to take those toys to the table.
Tips for Arranging Infant and Toddler Care Rooms
Cribs are to be spaced (see your state regulations for specific requirements), and should not be touching or be too close, for health and safety reasons.
There should be a "Play Area" away from where the cribs are. This will prevent playing babies from grabbing or shaking cribs and waking sleeping infants. The "Play Area" should have ample space for mobile infants to crawl, move around, and safely explore.
Safety is always first and foremost! Make sure that any piece of furniture or equipment that is freestanding is durable and sturdy enough for a child to pull himself up on. Make sure that the classroom is completely "childproofed," and anything within possible reach is safe for infants and toddlers. Having a "childproofed" room should also eliminate the need for many "no’s."
All areas of the room should be visible at all times. Mirrors can beused to see "blind spots."
Strategically put the cribs of light sleepers in areas in which there is the least amount of traffic or stimulation.
The diaper-changing table should face the classroom so that the children are visible at all times.
Have a place for parents to place diaper bags. Often there are things unknowingly left in diaper bags (infant Tylenol, Ambesol, etc) that a curious toddler could get into if within reach.
Be mindful of traffic patterns. You will not want people continually walking through the sleep area, or stepping over mobile infants crawling in the play area, to get to the cubbies.
Keep things organized, labeled and in some kind of logical arrangement and order based on use.
Make sure that your environment offers many diverse opportunities to explore different textures and tactile experiences. Infants and toddlers also need opportunities to climb and challenge and develop their gross motor skills.
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