The way you run your class greatly affects the behavior of your students. Students need stability, structure, and schedules. They need to know what is expected of them and what their day will look like. Keep in mind that not all students have structure at home, their home lives could be chaotic, and getting some structure at school might make them feel safe.
I’ve been in classrooms where nothing in the class was labeled, and yet the students were encouraged to put the items where they go, even though most of the items were in a different place each day. The only schedule that the class had was snack, lunch, and outside play. Besides that, there were no other set schedules.
The students had a difficult time moving from one activity to another. They either roamed throughout the classroom until the teacher instructed them to do something different, or made their own schedules. These schedules included sword fights, or wrestling, and resulted in someone getting hurt. The teacher spent most of the day redirecting the students, and less time interacting with them.
Schedules not only work well for the students but also for the teachers that take over the class when the regular teacher is out. Teachers need to understand how their lack of schedules affects not only the students but other teachers as well. Oftentimes, parents will ask for a schedule so that they are familiar with how their child’s day look.
The way a classroom is set-up should be based on the students in the classroom, and not some institutionalized format that the director decided to do. I have worked in centers where the director came into my classroom and rearranged it to their satisfaction without my input, or regard for the students in the classroom. The classroom felt foreign to me, and I did not feel like the room arrangement worked for students either.
I know that there is a basic structure of how a classroom should be arranged, with all the quiet centers separated from the noisy ones. But how the centers are arranged within the classroom should be based on the needs of the students, and that can only be done by the teacher in the classroom. There are students in the class that won’t use their walking feet, no matter how many times they are instructed to do so.
The classroom must be arranged so that there isn’t any extra space between centers as that leaves room for runners.
There also should never be things in the environment that the students cannot touch. If there is something in the environment that a teacher doesn’t want the students to touch, then it should be removed. Remember that a preschool classroom belongs to the students, it’s their community and they should feel a part of it. The only way for them to feel a part of their community is to have a schedule that promotes stability and an environment where everything is available for their use.