It’s back to school time and this year you are determined to not spend a week setting up your classroom. One of the most important, yet time consuming areas of the classroom to set up in preschool is the carpet time area. Have a plan before the beginning of the year to make classroom set up a breeze.
The carpet time/carpet area will be the main meeting area for the class throughout the year. The children will learn to follow routines and rules, learn how to be a kind friend, listen to stories, sing and learn what school is all about. Follow these simple steps and you will have the most amazing carpet time area.
1. Location is Everything
When scoping out a location for your carpet there are a few things to keep in mind:
- proximity to the door or cubby
I like to greet the children from the carpet in order to allow them to independently complete our morning routine, so I like the carpet area to be close to the entrance of the room or close to where they hang their backpacks. That way I am able to keep an eye on them while chatting with the students on the carpet. This will also limit the distractions.
- plenty of wall space for a calendar and other fun calendar time activities
Back in the day you moved your classroom around based on the locations of the bulletin boards. Now days there are a lot of bulletin hacks, like hanging fabrics and other easy DIY bulletin boards that you can choose a location that is the most convenient for you.
- access to a plug in or could safely run an extension cord to a plug in from the location
2. Have a Plan
This is one of my favorite areas to set up. I put a lot of thought as to what I will place on the walls. I use the early learning standards, district standards and what is expected at the beginning of kindergarten to plan out the concepts that I want to cover. It is one of the easiest places to observe children so I like to include concepts that are a big part of our progress report.
3. What to Include in your Calendar Area
One thing I always include is a calendar. For the first few months of preschool and kindergarten we focus on one week.
I like the boys and girls to start to recognize that there are 7 days in a week and we attend school 5 of those days. The boys and girls take turns pointing to the calendar as we sing out “Days of the Week” songs by Dr. Jean and other youtube artists. There are so many ways to change up calendar time to make it fun and exciting.
- Shape of the Day and or any Skill of the Day Activity
I also, like to include a concept of the day. Shape of the Day is the skill we work on when school begins. We will work on shapes for several weeks and then move on to Name of the Day, Number of the Day and Letter of the Day before we return back to Shape of the Day. This unit will work in a small or large area with large and small pieces, as well as colored and black and white options. What I like about skills of the day activities is that you can differentiate throughout the year to meet the needs of your students.
- Visual Directions
I always include visual directions in our calendar area. As I give directions to projects and activities I place the visual direction in order from 1-4. If the children become confused they know where to go for help. Which is why it super important to place this in a focal area of a classroom.
Repetition is key for any concept in preschool. When a child is the calendar helper they take a turn pointing to each letter as we sing or say the alphabet song. As the year progresses I have the students try to spell there name, look for what letter comes next and a few of the kids will look for sounds. Depending on the levels in the classroom.
4. Classroom Flow is Everything
- Who’s Here Today?
After the boys and girls enter the room, it’s time for them to mark that they are at school. At the beginning of the year we use a picture. I had a lot of fun making this cute Who’s Here Today board using Carson Dellosa birds and a tree I made out of paper. Write each child’s first name only. If you are able to get a picture of the children prior attach a small photo to the bird. The bottom line-your kids will love doing this each day. Sticky tack would also work. As the year progresses this area may change to the question of the day or name writing.
5. Organization Can Help with Classroom Management
- Play Center Rotation Board
One of my favorite materials I place in my calendar area in our play rotation board. All of the areas of our classroom will be labeled with Posters and I am Stating so all of the adults that enter know what the children are working on at each play area and the kids can find where they need to go.
I set a timer or allow the children to remain at the center as long as it is going smoothly. When the timer goes off the kids tidy up a little and prepare to rotate. Did I mention that I also set up the areas so that we are able to rotate counter clockwise? It definitely makes for smooth transitions. I may even add a little song before we rotate. Make sure to rotate the sticks as they move.
**Note that all of the kids faces are my infant daughter:) I do not feel comfortable showing faces of students.
You can make many of these boards on your own. However, if you are looking for quick and easy check out the links below! Good luck with your carpet time area!