classroom design

The classroom learning environment is the physical space that supports and shapes the curriculum. It can have a profound effect on individual children and the group. Our classrooms are designed to be safe, warm, and inviting to help children engage in learning activities and to support their development.


The classroom should be divided into different areas to give children opportunities to explore, make things, experiment, and pursue their interests. There should be spaces for large and small-group activities. Science and art activities should take place in specific areas set up for wet and messy play. Other areas should include dramatic play, block building, large-muscle activities, and a quiet area that is inviting to the children, visible to staff, and easily accessible to a child who seeks or needs time alone.

Designing effective classroom environments includes arranging the physical structure of the classroom to increase appropriate behaviors, such as engagement, and decrease the probability of challenging behaviors. Strategies for structuring the classroom include:

Universal design

Universal Design is an approach to creating environments that are usable and accessible to the widest possible range of people, including those with disabilities. In an early childhood classroom, Universal Design can be used to ensure all children have equal access to learning opportunities and resources. Here are some ways you can use Universal Design:

Learning centers

Learning centers are interest-based areas within the classroom where children learn by playing and engaging in activities. Subdividing the classroom into spaces that accommodate a few children at a time addresses some children’s preference for small-group settings.

Children need time to think and to manipulate materials for deep learning to occur. Every classroom schedule should include time at learning centers, with open-ended activities and hands-on materials that promote the development of emerging skills for each child.


Learning centers should include:


When designing learning centers: