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Hi there!

i ve just completed (nearly) my 1st year as an EY teacher, have previously been in KS1. Loved every minute, apart from the very recent OFSTED just had. However, the EY coordinator continously criticises the layout of the classroom, even though i ve only moved a few pieces of furniture arund the outskirts because of child safety and want to see the children at all time. the areas of the classroom are divided into the 6 elg's between 2 classroom which are 'opened' in the afternoon for 'workshop'. some of the areas are only physically sectioned off where furniture allows, but the rsources for each area are right next to them, there s labels everywhere etc. please can someone advise me on how they set up theri classroom, also is High scope still the 'modern way' of how to do things in EY's. Plkease help!!!


thank you

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Hi Bo Peep, and welcome to the site. :)

I run a pre-school, so can't really comment on how to set up a classroom, although I have regular access to the reception classes at my children's school. They too, appear to be arranged fairly traditionally, eg a graphics area, maths area, computer, separate art/DT room shared between the 2 reception classes. In the centre of the room are the children's trays, and the surface of these is usually set up with an interactive, sciency-type display. The book area has comfy seating and scatter cushions.

I'm sure other members will describe their set-ups :)

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Hi there bo peep, welcome on board and thanks for posting.


I sometimes find that a quick sketch of my room helps me to 'see' if things are in the right place or not. I also think the children soon make it known to you that things dont seem right. For example are there areas of the rom that arent used as often as others, if so,why is that? Or are there times that there is a queue of children at something, or are they always knocking things over to get ot other things.


I have to admit I change my room layout regularly, and observe how the children react differently to it.


Could you ask your coordinator to be more specific about what she doesnt like and to give you some reasons. Or ask her how she would arrange it?


I do have a distant recollection that we have discussed this before..Ill have a look and if I find anything useful Ill let you know. :D

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Hi there bopeep!


Again, can't really comment on a classroom, as i'm in a Day Nursery Pre-school Unit.


However ( :o ) we arrange as follows - two rooms, with a connecting door, only closed if we have really obvious older/younger - more/less able (whatever description you want to use there.) splits in an activity. Areas are clearly signed, with child-designed 'posters' - messy/creative; role play; book area (ours is raised and rather nicely called the 'bookloft'); mathematics; ICT (with computer suite); snack bar (self registration for snack/milk, free access for fresh water); design and make; writing/markmaking; knowledge and understanding of the world - adjacent to computers, with selection of factual books,maps etc; music area; children's trays (unfortunately in a corner - working on it!) and a 'general purpose' area. Sounds bigger than it is, but it seems to work.


Anyone else find they all spill into each other anyway, when those fertile litle minds get going? Good practise for 'tidy up time' xD


Sue :D

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It's half past six in the morning and I'm alomost out of the house. Takes me an hour to get to work. I will write mail this evening- with information.



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Hi Bo Peep and welcome,

I can see that you've been busy posting on the site!! Glad that you're getting stuck in straight away. :D I'm in a playgroup so can't help you. All I know is that I spent a lot of time rearranging things until I settled on the layout I have now. I would agree with Mundia - get some 'proper' feed back from your EY coordinator as to what she dislikes particularly. If she's critical of what you're doing it's only fair she gives you a full explanation. :)

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i find that the best way to re-do is to pile your furniture in the middle of the room and then strat getting the areas organised. I change the room regulalry- more to give the chidlren a surprise every half term.

I have my nursery set up in area-


1. snad/water and paint (easel)

2. free use d/t paint area where the chidlren can just access things that they need to make what ever they want to- free choice. The things available int he d/t are are changed regulaly to give vareity. Occationally we might have a focussed task on the d/t paint table.

3. snack table

4. reading corner and writing table have merged together this time and the children seem to be using both better than they used to.

5. Small world play

6. Construction

7. Role play - under the sea this time

8. display table

9. Carpet area specified for large floor puzzles and games.

10. computer

11. one 2 tables which joined together make a hexagon but can be separated if the need arose. This tqable is used for differnt things each day- magnetic letter, playdoh and number activiites.Two narrow tables together set up in a vareity of ways depedning on the activity.

All areas have number cards hanging from the ceiling to specify the maximum number of chidlren in that area. I also used masking tape on the floor to show the extent of each area. or sometimes I mark a line to show that the toys (say lego) should stay within the lines. This seems to help spactial awarness.


I could do with more furniture and storage area to cordon off the l;earning centres but my husband refuses to make any more room dividers!!!! (just mdf with shelf brackets)

I have cut down on the table area as adults seem to congregate at tables. Now I encouage staff to go to the play centres and not call chidlren to the tables.


hope this helps- i have found that chidlren will let you know when something works or doesn't- by the extent of their participation in the areas

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One of the things I always advise is to sit on the chairs and look at the room from a child's point of view. That often helps to give you a clue as to where things will work best.


I change things depending on need too, this week we made the writing/graphics table larger to accomodate the vast number of budding authors we have!!


Don't forget to think about your outside area if you have one as your classroom too and how you will resource that.......a trolley with pens, scissors, paper, magnifying glasses etc etc is a good idea. (I am still trying to get one but it's a good idea!!!!)


Have fun! :o

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  • 2 weeks later...


Have read these threads with interest as have just moved classrooms (inot a brand new classroom!!!). Has anyone got any other pieces of advice or ideas on how to arrange my reception classroom? I have a largish wet area with some shelves in and need to arrange tables, 2 computers, a carpet area and hopefully a writing/role-play area and book corner in the rest of it. Any thoughts would be appreciated!


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Hi bo peep


From your description it sounds to me like you have a well organised classroom. As long as it works for children that's all that matters. Did th EY co-ordinator mention any specific problems with your set up?



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I find this one really difficult to answer without seeing the room and have been reading from afar, as I have been the FS coord asking someone to reconsider the room layout. In my case the room was just too formal and with a little tweaking of table positions and shapes, using bookcases to create corners it took on a different feel and most importantly the children reacted differently.

Obviously in this situation I can see neither the room nor have I have knowledge of your class, the children or anything else.

Certainly your coord needs to help and give guidance and you might be able to gain some appreciation of what she thinks by looking at her classroom, although each and every one of us is different and will have a preffered teaching layout. No matter how often I rearrange my room I always return to the way it was as that suits me best!


So I would suggest that you keep your carpet / sitting area as large as you can and as uncluttered as possible, while having easy acces to the things you use most often when you are teaching the whole class.

Computers need to be away from sand and water as much as is possible and again I like to have one near the carpet area for whole class demo.


Role play should be as large as is possible and I've found it better to have it on carpet too although this has not always been possible but in my experience this cuts noise and increases interaction. Play has also been improved when children have easy access to a space outside or alonside the immediate area which they can extend their play into.


Your book corner benefits from being close to the carpet or in its own area. I always find cushions and small chairs etc difficult to accomodate as thay dont lend themselves to sitting quietly but I've never had a room where I can set the book corner up independently of the carpet and I like my books to be accessible for "guided reading" sessions, as I use them for independent reading at this time!


Sand water and art activities benefit from being on a moppable floor and perhaps near the outside door to enable the activity to be moved outside. We were not lucky enough to have access to these outside in any other way but your setting may be different.


I always liked to have a teaching table where I could work with the children and I was lucky to have a large horseshoe table where the teacher sat in the middle and children around the outside. This makes it a lot easier to see what the group are doing and to interact with them all. Other tables as necessary. I always found a larger writing area worked better than a smaller one and you might like this near the role play although again I never managed that very successfully.


Perhaps you need to think about a "working" area and by that I mean structured area and a noisy or creative area. Although that doesn't quite convey what I mean. Construction and small world often go together well.


Will you need enough chairs for every one to sit down together? Can be a good way to get changed for pE if nothing else. Will you anchor children to chairs at home time or use your carpet? If you are going to have everyone seated, can you see them all and them you? Lots of practical considerations will determine your room layout.



So, an almost impossible task to devise for someone else.

Whatever you decide don't be afraid to experiment and change as needed. An empty classroom can look beautiful but be a nightmare once the children are working in it. OH and remember walkways, allow enough room for children to move and to line up at doors if you are going to need to do that, which in a school classroom you almost certainly will.

Have spaces big enough for children and adults to move around but not big enough to run in! Remember not to block fire exits.


Good luck & have fun. Find what works for you!

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