Students come to school seeking a safe and quiet space to learn. Teachers want classrooms that are visually engaging and student-centered. They also want a class that is welcoming, colorful and comfortable. Both teachers and students like rooms that represent the academic and social-emotional side of education.
Every classroom needs a quiet space to accommodate the many needs of the children. It is a place in the room where students can take a moment to regroup or a place for calm. A quiet space can also be a place to read a book, listen to music or work in pairs. Teachers, you can create a space in your classroom. If you are a principal or administrator, encourage and support staff members who want to create a quiet area in their room.
When you decide to set up a quiet space, you must find an excellent location in the room. The location or area should be unobstructed by students’ desks, bookcases, etc. Usually, every inch or square footage is in use in a classroom. Space is limited because you have tables, desks, computers, interactive whiteboards, projectors, document readers and more. However, a quiet space doesn’t have to take up a large area. Remember, the classroom is child-centered, not teacher-centered.
Once you find the perfect spot, it’s time to decorate. You need to fill up the quiet space with comfortable items suitable for children. Keep in mind that clutter is not an option when designing the quiet area. You may decide on a specific theme. Or you can have an eclectic mix. Whatever you choose here are a few items to get you started.
First, you will need an area rug. It serves as the perimeter and center of your classroom’s quiet space. Students can sit or lie on the carpet when reading a book, working on a laptop, or working in pairs. When choosing a color for the area rug, make sure it’s not too light. Neutral colors like white, beige or tan are not children friendly. Try a darker neutral color or shade.
Next, think about what type of furniture you want to use. Remember, the quiet space must be a comfortable setting. Children love bean bags. Kids love sitting or slouching on soft, cushy chairs. Also, kids love sitting on couches. It makes them feel grown up to sit in a big person’s chair. Perhaps, you can find a used sofa from a resale store or estate sale. You don’t want light colored fabric for any chairs, bean bags, or couches. If you go that route, you must professionally clean all used furniture.
Yoga mats of squared mats are great for the students. Students can lie on the mats or practice yoga poses. They can sit on squared mats and work in pairs or groups. Some students may want to do breathing exercises or listen to music. Of course, they will need headphones when they listen to music or audio books. Other items that you may consider are throw pillows, squeeze balls, crayons, arts and craft materials, books, and magazines.
After organizing the quiet space, keep it clean! Teach the students that its a respected, space and must be tidy at all times. You need cleaning supplies such as a small vacuum cleaner or Dirt Devil for the area rug. Then you need a duster, broom, and dustpan for sweeping and removing dust. Keep on hand anti-bacterial wipes and eco-friendly cleaners to remove germs. As you know, classrooms are not germ-free environments!
Creating a quiet space in your classroom is something your students will love. Children enjoy having a place in the room where they can be comfortable. Spending time in the area serves as an excellent reward, too. Afterward, decide on a name for the quiet space. Let the students help choose the name. Lastly, develop a system to increase students’ appreciation for a time in the special place.
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