Colorful, themed decorations adorn many kindergarten classrooms, but the walls in your room can serve as a support to the curriculum you teach. Too many mass-produced decorations may actually distract your kindergarten students, according to the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Choose your kindergarten classroom decorations intentionally to support learning.
Use Student Work
The decorations in the classroom represent the things the teacher values in the educational process, according to Patricia Tarr, a professor for a teacher prep program, in a National Association for the Education of Young Children article. By using student work, you place value on the artifacts your kindergarten students create. You allow them to show what they understand about the topics you cover in the classroom. Choose original pieces that reflect student creativity rather than cut-and-paste style activities that all look similar. For example, choose an art project the students designed on their own rather than a printed coloring page the kids filled in. This type of student work encourages creativity.
Tie in Curriculum
Choose decorations that connect to the curriculum. Some mass-produced decorations may relate to the curriculum as long as the information is accurate and uses the same terminology as your curriculum. You might hang a poster or cutouts that show the two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes kindergarteners need to know under the Common Core Standards, for example. Ensure the labels on the shapes match what you teach the students to make the decorations meaningful. A word wall is a common decoration in kindergarten classrooms to reinforce high-frequency words for the kindergarten level. A print-rich environment emphasizes the literacy standards kindergartners need to reach, but too much print can make it all blend together. Choose relevant pieces of print to include in the kindergarten design. If you use a word wall or other print reference materials, hang them where the kids can use them easily -- at eye level and near work areas.
Tame Visual Distractions
Limiting the amount of decorations on the wall allows those selected items to stand out. Wall-to-wall decorations and displays become overwhelming and distracting. All of those colorful images can start blending together and become less visible to the students. Instead, use neutral-colored backgrounds to allow key decorations to pop. Student work is more visible on a neutral wall without distracting borders or decorations, for example. Leave space around displays to break it up and make it easier to see the individual pieces.
Keep It Current
Seasonal and relevant themes also work for kindergarten classroom decorations. You might choose a monthly theme that you incorporate into the decorations. Holidays or seasons also work as inspiration for changing decorations in the classroom. Seasonal themes can tie in to the kindergarten science standards regarding weather. You might use a simple model of the water cycle with clouds and lakes to decorate during the rainy spring season, for example. You won't likely have time to change all of the decorations in your classroom each month or season, but having a few themed areas keeps the decor in your kindergarten classroom fresh and interesting.
- National Association for the Education of Young Children: Consider the Walls
- Common Core State Standards Initiative: Kindergarten Introduction
- Common Core State Standards Initiative: English Language Arts Standards -- Reading: Foundational Skills -- Kindergarten
- PBS Parents: What Kids Learn in Kindergarten
- Photo Credit Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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