Reflect on a space in your home that brings you peace and comfort. What defining characteristics of this space make it a serine and welcoming environmen? My go-to space in my home is my living room. There are hints of color, natural light, family pictures, and yummy scents that add a level of security and calm.
Educators and children spend a significant amount of time in the school environment. Add up the number of hours spent in a week, month, year. That equals a lot of time! In conjunction to a welcoming home environment, the classroom environment should nurture and provide a sense of security to children. What type of objects can make your classroom warm and welcoming? Family pictures, neutral colors, soft music, and home objects from students can lend to conversations and build a sense of security. The following components are ways to create an inviting classroom for your school community.
Components of such an environment include the following:
• Protecting children’s health and safety- Ensure the materials and spaces are safe and free of hazards.
• Supporting children’s physiological needs for activity, sensory stimulation, outdoor experiences, rest, and nourishment- Children need a balance and structure as a foundation in their school day to help them grow and develop throughout the school year.
• Providing materials that reflect the children’s culture and background- Incorporating the culture and background of you students help build a sense of community. Items can be as simple as an empty seasoning bottle used in the dramatic play area or a family portrait. Provide opportunities for students to bring in an object that has a personal connection.
• Protecting children’s psychological safety (e.g., children feel secure, relaxed, and comfortable rather than disengaged, frightened, worried, or stressed)- Provide emotional support for students based on their individual needs. Form partnerships and a sense of community to ensure students feel comfortable in the classroom environment, among teachers and peers.
Source: Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines