Posted on 08/19/2014 at 02:24 PM by Liz Determan

It is the beginning of the school year and often the first thing that teachers want to do is to set up the environment that children will see on their first day. As teachers we want it to be interesting, comforting, safe, exciting, and meaningful. We want it to inspire learning for every child.

In an article by Amy Sussna Klein, "The Power of Purposeful Preschool Environments," the environment is referred to as the “third teacher in the classroom.” The environment helps children to interact, learn and avoid unproductive activities. The environment encourages independence, creativity, and responsibility.

Ms. Klein asks us to consider four elements when creating an environment:

1. The well-being of those in the classroom (safety)

2. The perspectives of those who will use the environment (culture)

3. How the space accommodates appropriate activities (zoning)

4. How the materials present should encourage learning (set-up)

“Careful attention to these elements reduces how much time the teachers spend maintaining safety and order. This frees up time for higher levels of teaching, which ultimately increases learning.”

Find the article at

Have a great start to the 2014-15 school year!

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