Creative Curriculum is a teaching strategy and curriculum approach that has been used in various Head Start and preschool programs around the nation. One of the basic principles of the Creative Curriculum approach is to utilize room arrangement to optimize learning for children. Classrooms can be arranged in ways that help meet children's developmental needs.
Teaching Strategies, the parent company that originally designed Creative Curriculum, notes that one way to set up your classroom is to establish various "interest areas" throughout your available space. Interest areas can include a variety of possible activities for children such as art stations, a book area for reading and looking at pictures, a toy area where students can have playtime while inside the classroom, and a space for playing games. Each interest area should be large enough to accommodate more than one student at a time, but small enough that only a few children at a time can participate in a given station. This will keep the entire class from congregating in one area and overwhelming some children who may feel more comfortable in a small group setting rather than with large groups.
Another way to utilize the concept of interest areas is to create areas that reflect the upcoming season and its holidays. For instance, you can incorporate a winter theme into your current arrangement or reorganize specifically for your seasonal theme. You can create a room that has its own Santa's workshop as a toy area. For the book area you can include books and magazines related to the winter season and the Christmas holiday. You can also create stations to increase your students' cultural awareness. For instance, you can make the Jewish holiday Hanukkah the subject of one of your stations. Students can be introduced to the history and practices of the Jewish people during this holiday. You can do this for just about any culture you wish to highlight.
Another way to arrange your classroom to optimize the learning experience is to utilize various computer stations throughout your classroom. Include a computer station with one or more computers for students to use various learning programs and educational games. Instead of having a single, separate computer station, you can integrate computers into many, if not all, of your established interest areas. This works especially well in classrooms where teachers have access to multiple computers and a variety of software applications.
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