One of the most important and enjoyable jobs that we have as teachers is to create a welcoming classroom environment. Students learn best when they are in a positive environment in which they feel safe and loved. Creating a classroom that makes all students and guests feel welcome while also reflecting your own teaching style is fun, but can also be a bit overwhelming. Read on for tips and resources to make your classroom kid-friendly and fun!
Create a Kid-Focused and Kid-Friendly Classroom
When creating a classroom environment, it is important to keep a few things in mind. The classroom should not only be kid-friendly, but also kid-focused. Meaning, the decor, images, colors, and themes should be appealing to kids and something that they will be excited about. It should be age appropriate and be enjoyable for both boys and girls. It should also be kid-focused, therefore, not too overwhelming or overstimulating for kids. The classroom environment should feel welcoming and fun, yet encourage positive behavior and focus. A classroom with too much going on can cause sensory overload for some students, making it hard for them to concentrate. It is good to have some “white space,” between decor and balance out warm colors like red and orange with cool colors such as blue and green.
All Welcome Chart
Another way to create a welcoming classroom environment is by including this all welcome chart in your classroom. This chart comes in regular printer paper size as well as a larger poster size. Blow this up to poster size and hang it on your classroom door so that all students and guests that enter your classroom feel welcome, no matter their race, ability, background, etc. You can get this chart for free in my store by using the link below.
(Link: Free Welcome Chart)
The next resource for creating a welcoming classroom environment is this classroom check-in chart. This chart comes with each of my classroom decor theme sets (linked below). This chart shows students that they belong, as everyone has a special tag with their name on it. They can move their name onto the poster to signal that they would like you to check-in with them. This also lets them know that you are there for and care about them. This check-in chart is a great way to connect with students at anytime, but especially when certain students are needing some extra teacher time.
(Link: Decor Sets [each comes with check-in chart to match theme])
Broaden Your Classroom Library with Diverse Books
It is important when stocking your classroom library to keep cultural diversity in mind. Include books from all cultures to help students feel welcome. This also is a great way to broaden all students’ horizons and have meaningful conversations about diversity.
Tutu Teacher has an amazing collection of diverse books that are perfect for back-to-school time. She rates each book, gives a short synopsis, and offers tips for how to prepare to teach and hold meaningful conversations about each book. Check out the collection using the link below.
(Link to Tutu Teacher’s Back to School Blog)
Diversify Your Art Supplies
It is very important that students feel welcome into your classroom in a variety of ways. One very basic way for students to very included and appreciated is to make sure you have art supplies in various shades. If you include multicultural paper, crayons, and markers, students will not have that sinking feeling when they’re asked to illustrate themselves but all there is is a peach or brown crayon. Give them a wider variety of colors to choose from.
Here are a few Amazon affiliate links to supplies to stock up on:
Job Chart Switched Daily
Classroom jobs are key for creating a welcoming classroom environment. Students feel special and have a sense of pride when they have a classroom job. Jobs also help teach responsibility and respect. Oftentimes, classroom jobs are rotated weekly, leaving many students to have a significant wait time before they get a job. This daily classroom job chart alleviates this wait time by cycling the students daily. This resource also includes a description of each job, explaining to the kids how they can do that job best!
(Link: Classroom Jobs Set)
Each Kiddo Gets a Book Bin
Picking out books is exciting for students. It’s like shopping at a book store each week, which makes reading exciting for them. Giving each student a labeled book bin to store their weekly book selections creates a welcoming classroom environment as well. It is neat to see the bins all lined up, filled with books that reflect each student’s unique book choices. The blog post linked below gives great tips for making book bins to match your classroom theme.
(Blog Link: Matching Your Book Bins to Your Classroom)
As teachers, it is our duty to make sure all students feel welcome, but also that we teach about diversity and acceptance. When choosing stories, activities, resources with clipart, etc., consider how all cultures are represented. Make it your goal to represent all backgrounds and walks of life in your classroom intentionally.
Provide a Safe Space for Students
Including a calm down corner or safe space in your classroom is a great idea. Talk to your students about this space and how it is to be used. This will allow all students to know they can visit this corner when needed without pointing out the students that you know will likely benefit from it. This classroom space will help your kiddos with big emotions as well as those who may just be having a tough day. Check out Jillian Starr’s blog post below about creating your own safe space.
(Source: Jillian Starr Teaching)
Make the Classroom Fun!
Lastly, make your classroom environment fun! Get to know your students and what they love. Some ideas to do this are doing brain breaks throughout the day, coming up with secret handshakes, singing songs, coming up with catchy attention-getters, having dance parties, choosing games and activities that they love, etc. All in all, you want your classroom to be a place where your students feel safe, comfortable, and want to come back each and every day.
Suggested Resources to Create a Welcoming Classroom Environment
Thanks for reading this blog post all about creating a welcoming environment.
Here are the suggested resources I discussed throughout the blog post.
For more blog posts about setting up your classroom, check these out.
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