It is that time of year. New classroom. New possibilities. New floods of panic over the amount of jobs to do.
I have only decorated a classroom once before. So now I am trying to perfect the art of optimum classroom organisation, decoration and preparation. Here are my top 10 tips to tackle decorating a new classroom.
First and foremost:
How I think I decorate my classroom:
How I actually decorate my classroom:
- Classroom decoration and organisation is no science and it is no art. There really are no rules or best ways to do it. Heck, I spend most of my time running around like a headless chicken and tripping over things I have left on the floor. I have 6 bruises on my legs this year…like an absolute child…
2. Start with decluttering. Empty all cupboards. All drawers. All hidden spots behind/ under furniture. Get it all out. And bin or donate most of it. This year I had been kindly left loads of useful stuff to use with my new Year 1 class but I tried to be much more stringent than last year. No you do not need that seventh tub of glitter (okay so I haven’t yet mastered true stringency as I still have 6 tubs of glitter BUT in my defence they are all different colours!) So either but those extra things in the bin if they are past their use of give them to another colleague to love and use in their classroom.
3. Get everything you are keeping and lay it out for you to see. Now that you can see what you’ve got you can start to give everything its rightful home.
4. Organise cupboards and shelves first. And one shelf at a time. Make sure you are happy where everything goes and that it is in the most suitable place. For example, in my cupboard I have tried to make sure that anything I might want a child to retrieve is at child height. And anything I don’t want children to reach or see (ie: teacher chocolate and christmas decorations) are at the very tippity-top.
5. Create inventories for your cupboards. This is something I am trying for this year. As I was SO unorganised last year and hated having to pause like a rabbit in headlights whenever someone asked me which cupboard something was in.
6. So your shelves and cupboards are done. I then like to sort my teacher area out next for my own piece of mind. Plus it gives me a way to organise (*cough* hide) a lot of my random stuff which makes the room look instantly tidier.
7. So now that most of the clutter and random stuff should have found a home in your classroom. I then like to then tackle my display boards next. This helps to make the room feel really put together plus injects nice colour into the room. Also, if you do this before arranging all your furniture or setting up all your zones (if your in KS1) then you can still easily hoover up all the mess that you will inevitably make. I have had to pause this step a little longer than I would have liked as I need to go and buy fabric for my walls. It lasts so much better than paper. Plus children cannot pick it off as easily.
8. Then it’s time for arranging. Move those tables, create those zones, calm corners and book corners. I take a lot of time doing this. I like to try and get my classroom set up as best I can for day 1 so I try to take into account the personalities in my class when I arrange my tables. For example, this year I will be mainly have tables of 4 as the children get on well together. Last year I had some tables of 2 and even 1 as there were some personalities that needed a little more space.
9. Be prepared for much change. I am expecting to change my tables in September after I assess how they work with the children. As I am in year 1, I want to try and keep my zones in the same place but I am prepared to move them if necessary. Last year, for example, I changed my classroom layout entirely about 4 times and my book corner was tried and tested in several corners.
10. Enjoy making it a fun, engaging and comforting space for the children and yourself. Heck, I don’t know about you, but my classroom sure does become my home-away-from-home.
Have you got any top tips for getting your classroom “children-ready”?