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How Do You Design A Classroom?

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Early Learning Furniture


20 January 2022

Research suggests that how a classroom is arranged accounts for 16% of the impact on a student’s learning - and this figure becomes even more important when put into perspective for early years learning, as students at this key stage of development are far more susceptible to visual and spatial cues. 

When children begin attending nursery, pre-school or school, they will be working on building the key foundational skills: 

  • Cognition & Problem Solving
  • Social & Emotional Skills 
  • Speech & Language Development
  • Fine & Gross Motor Skills

Classroom layout can play a huge part in the development of those skills and set younger students up for a successful educational career. In this way, early childhood classrooms must be thought of differently to learning spaces for older students. The focus for younger children typically revolves around learning through play; so an early learning classroom should provide different spaces where children can focus on refining different skills. Children at school in an environment that suits their needs and supports learning outcomes will be more productive, engaged, and excited about learning new things. 

In this blog, we’ll discuss 7 things that are important to consider when designing a classroom and placing your classroom furniture for young students. 

1. Safety First
The first thing to think about when designing a classroom layout is how that layout will affect not only the ability of children to learn productively, but also safely. This applies particularly to early learning classrooms as young students are still building their spatial awareness capabilities. Ensuring the layout is simple and easy to navigate is essential. Keeping wide thoroughfares through larger classroom spaces with clear routes to different areas or learning ‘zones’ helps children to easily find their way without constant adult supervision. Segmenting different areas for different activities, with clear barriers to mark the end of each area, can help to reduce the amount of floor clutter (for example, toys or colouring pencils) which could cause slipping or tripping. If students know that paints and pencils must remain in the Art Zone, for example, they are learning rules and boundaries - and you’re helping to keep them safe at the same time. When thinking about student safety, it’s important to also consider ‘emotional safety’. A child that feels welcomed, secure and has their emotional needs met is better equipped to learn and develop.

2. Keep Things In Perspective
One of the most important things to remember when designing a classroom for early years students is size. As adults, we see the world from a completely different perspective than small children. Choosing furniture for your classroom that’s ‘kid sized’ can make a huge difference when it comes to helping new, young and often nervous students settle into a school environment. For example, choosing height adjustable school tables means that the space can grow and change depending on the age and height of your students - and the activities they’re taking part in. Similarly, storage furniture also needs to reflect the capabilities of students so they can engage and be selective without requiring adult assistance. Book storage and Book Browsers can help youngsters to independently engage in learning activities through self-selection.

3. Create Spaces for Collaboration & Creativity
Learning to play and work with others is an important aspect of early schooling. Setting up environments where children must learn to share, and come together with others to finish a particular project assists in their development of key social skills. Choosing classroom tables and chairs where children all face inwards towards a central point encourages a sense of community and collaboration. The furniture layout should encourage students to work together promotes sharing of equipment such as markers or erasers.

Classroom Tables

4. Leave Room for Peace & Quiet
Just as collaborative learning is important, so is time and space for individual reflection. Creating calm, peaceful spaces where children can go to read books or play quietly with toys, or even just sit and daydream, is essential for their emotional wellbeing and educational development. Classroom Dividers can play a huge part in this. Designed to absorb noise rather than reflect it back into a space, using a series of these partitions to divide off a corner of the classroom for reading creates a peaceful area where young students can escape the noise of a busy early learning classroom. Finishing a ‘quiet zone’ with comfortable, cosy classroom seating such as bean bags helps to promote the idea of a friendly, welcoming and peaceful space that may remind them of home and offer a sense of wellbeing and security.

5. Make Time for Play
In an early learning setting, the majority of ‘learning’ is done through play. However, there’s always room in any classroom for a space where playtime is encouraged for playtime’s sake. Set up an area for imaginative play where children can let their imaginations run wild. Invest in toys such as school play furniture to encourage little ones to explore the realities of a grown-up world through play. Encouraging children to play freely for part of their ‘school’ day is a great outlet for young minds.

6. Decorate For Fun & Learning
An early learning classroom with bare, blank walls is not an early learning classroom! It’s time to get creative and think about how you can use your classroom walls to support your students’ education. Using wall-mounted classroom displays is a great way to protect the paintwork - with pinboard, Velcro and magnetic options available, there are plenty of ways you can put up student artwork or learning aids that decorate your classroom and offer support, encouragement or education at the same time. Similarly, room dividers for shcools can also double up as display areas; you can segment off a reading zone, for example, and decorate the panels accordingly with replica book covers, alphabet letters or ‘book of the week’ displays to inspire little readers. 

Classroom Tray Storage

7. Keep Things Clutter Free
This might seem like an impossible task in an early learning environment with young children, but there are ways you can keep clutter to a minimum - and it’s important to do so. There’s a fine line between having enough materials to encourage learning and having too many. Young children can easily become overstimulated, and those who are overwhelmed are less capable of learning and are more likely to contribute to chaos in the classroom. Start with only the basic classroom storage solutions, and you can always gradually add more as you go along. You’d be surprised how little you actually require to give children a well-rounded learning experience. Alternatively, you can rotate toys and materials to keep things fresh, exciting and (relatively!) clutter-free.

For more information on any of our classroom furniture or advice on the ideal products for your students, our expert team is on hand to help. Get in touch via our Contact Us page or call us on 01733 511121.



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