As the school year comes to a close Moms and Dads are busy planning summer trips and worrying about which summer camp will best meet the needs of their kids. While families are planning for summer, teachers and school administrators are busy making decisions for next years’ curriculum. As part of this process purchasing decisions need to be made. While deciding on how to allocate your funds for next year here are some key things to keep in mind.
For example, does every room have a classroom carpet? Educational rugs have become a must piece of furniture for all early childhood and school age classrooms. They delineate a specific space for story time, gatherings, and when utilizing a big book easel for group learning. Having this learning center designated by an educational rug helps organize the classroom. Even more importantly, this carpeted area helps build structure into the classroom which give kids a sense of continuity and purpose each day. Knowing what to expect and where to go when they enter the classroom gives children a sense of purpose and particularly helps the younger set stay focused and feel safe.
Today there are so many rugs to choose from that you are sure to find the perfect rug for your classroom. At SensoryEdge we have a great selection of classroom carpets. The Calendar Rug is great for teachers who want each child to sit in their own square. Add the calendar number squares kit and this rug can also be used as a learning tool to teach kids calendar concepts and number recognition. Other teachers prefer an alphabet, geography, or shapes carpet with a specific educational theme. For example, the ABC Caterpillar Carpet is great for teaching the alphabet and the Discover America Rug is perfect for social studies classrooms. Make sure you measure the space and know how many kids you need to accommodate. Which ever classroom carpet you chose the most important thing is to bring color and structure to the classroom . . . and don’t forget the fun!
Another key purchasing decision made this time of year is book storage. As new books and learning programs are purchased teachers need to consider where those new books will be stored to keep the classroom neat and clutter free. As we learn more about the sensory processing and attention issues facing so many of our Nation’s children we have learned that keeping the learning environment well structured helps kids stay focused and calm. There are many types of book cases, displays, and storage options available. To find the right item to fit your classroom first you need to define the number and size of books you are looking to organize. For big books shallow Book Displays are the standard. For smaller books, blocks, games, and toys the best option are the Storage Centers by Guidecraft and Jonti Craft.
For those kids that need some extra help staying focused you might consider adding some sensory tools to the classroom. Many teachers have found that by providing kids with inflatable seat cushions like the Disc o sit, kids can have increased attention and a decreased need to get up and move around at inappropriate times. Another option is to have kids sit on a sit n gym ball seat instead of a regular chair.
Some teachers just have one or two balls or seat cushions in the classroom for kids to use when they feel the need. If kids with sensory and attention issues have the option to get up and use a ball or seat cushion to sit on they are less likely to disrupt the lesson and more likely to focus on learning. Teachers have had a lot of success with these strategies so start the year with the tools you need to help kids succeed. We carry a nice assortment of Fitball products for youngsters and teens alike as well as hop balls for recess fun.
Alycia Shapiro is Vice President in charge of product development for SensoryEdge. She has advocated for special needs children in order to get the therapy services they need. Many parents either have difficulty getting the proper services or might not know these services are available. You can visit her websites to learn more about eduational toys and classroom carpets .