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alphabet blocksEnvironment is important to a child's learning, Children use their environment as a means to satisfy their needs. Areas should be planned carefully and stocked with materials and supplies to encourage childrens curiosity to want to explore, manipulate, and create. Children will have the opportunity to enhance knowledge in all of the developments listed above and achieve goals in every area in your classroom if the correct materials and the presentation of the materials is present.

The classroom setting should be divided into interest areas:

  • home
  • block
  • art
  • book & literacy
  • music
  • science
  • sensory
  • math & manipulative
  • computer

A wide variety of learning materials should be offered and related to the curriculum goals to enhance the childrens learning. All materials should be on low open shelves and accessible to the children without having to ask for assistance from an adult.

Similar materials are grouped together to teach the children to sort and classify. These skills are important to understanding and solving math problems. Photographs and word labels should be put on the containers and shelves to aid as the children begin to read symbols and print.

Home area

The home area allows the children to engage in pretend play that encourages role playing. Two things that a small child know is home and school. By providing this area it encourages the children to experiment with items and situations that are recognizable to them and gain knowledge of new ones. This area encourages knowledge of the community, imagination, working together, problem solving, compromising, and enhancement of verbal skills.

Example of items needed:

  • stove, refrigerator, & sink
  • dishes
  • cookware
  • food
  • multicultural dolls
  • food
  • mirror
  • house cleaning set
  • dress up clothes
  • crib
  • small table & chairs
  • high chair

Block area

The block area aids in gaining knowledge of math concepts by working with blocks of different shapes and sizes. The children is giving the opportunity to build structures and take on roles of people and community helpers. This area encourages role playing, gaining knowledge of the world, self expression, problem solving, and creativity.

Example of items needed:

  • unit blocks
  • foam blocks
  • large blocks
  • tools
  • shelves
  • traffic signs
  • people
  • farm animals
  • vehicles
  • area rug
  • pets
  • zoo animals
  • wild animals
  • dinosaurs

Art area

boy paintingThe art area invites the children to express their emotions through creativity. While the children are utilizing the different tools to create they are developing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. By providing open-ended art for the children it allows them to self- express as they problem solve of what to create.

Example of items needed:

  • paper
  • construction paper
  • finger paint paper
  • paint brushes
  • scissors
  • markers
  • collage materials
  • shelves
  • aprons
  • markers
  • pencils
  • paint
  • watercolors
  • glue
  • color pencils
  • tape
  • table & chairs
  • stamps
  • stamp pad
  • scissors
  • crayons
  • finger paint
  • play dough
  • play dough tools
  • easel

Book/Literacy area

teacher and boy reading a bookLiteracy is very important as a small child and as an adult. The book and literacy area can stand alone or be joined together. These two areas isn't the most favorite of the children so to encourage the children to take advantage of these areas is to provide a variety of fun learning materials, make it cozy and inviting. Also make sure you provide a diverse selection of books that the children can relate to. This area increases vocabulary and comprehension skills, as well as aiding in reading and writing.

Examples of items needed:

  • books
  • book shelf
  • puppets
  • alphabet cards
  • photo cards
  • chalk board
  • flannel board
  • small table & chairs
  • pillows
  • pencils
  • word cards
  • index cards
  • dry erase board
  • puppet stands
  • shelf
  • area rug
  • paper
  • magnetic letters
  • chalk
  • dry erase markers
  • large books

Music area

The music area allows the children to express themselves through music. Children are able to be physically active and help gain control of their bodies. By experimenting with different sounds and beats the children are able to create and enhance memory skills.

Examples of items needed:

  • musical instruments
  • listening center
  • headphones
  • music shelf
  • scarves
  • cd’s
  • microphone
  • cd player
  • rain stick
  • area rug

Science & Sensory

The science and sensory areas can stand alone or together. The children are able to explore and experiment with the natural world. Vocabulary is enhance while engaging with the materials in these areas as they guess, predict and observe.

Examples of items needed:

  • plants
  • insects
  • stethoscope
  • rocks
  • binoculars
  • mirrors
  • table & chairs
  • smocks
  • microscope
  • seashells
  • balance scale
  • sensory cups
  • test tubes
  • color wheel
  • shelf
  • magnets
  • magnifying glass
  • measuring cups
  • tactile cards
  • pine cones
  • listening tubes
  • sensory table

Manipulative/Math area

The manipulative and math area offers the children the opportunity to understand basic math concepts as well as the development of fine motor skills. As the children are engaged in the materials they are improving hand-eye coordination and problem solving skills, as they count, sort, and classify.

Examples of items needed:

  • legos
  • waffle blocks
  • string beads
  • lace cards
  • counting frame
  • teaching clock
  • shelves
  • linking cubes
  • pegs & boards
  • notch'ems
  • counters
  • number cards
  • geometric shapes
  • area rug
  • puzzles
  • ring builders
  • gears
  • abacus
  • magnetic numbers
  • potato head
  • table & chairs

Computer Area

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