Many daycare providers ask for tips and advice regarding how to best set up their daycare space. Even though your home or center layout may be working well, here are some tips that you may not have thought of.
- Create clear visual boundaries, making it apparent to children where learning areas stop and start. Define child care areas with shelving units, equipment with backs, area rugs, etc.
- Each learning area should be separate.
- Strategically arrange your room to eliminate runways. Long straight aisles and paths encourage running.
- The Art Area and sand/water play should be located on tile and by sinks, if possible, for easy clean up.
- Provide visual order, with a sense of logic. Group similar things together. Display materials so they can be seen in labeled bins, baskets, and boxes.
- Avoid having any “blind spots” or areas where children cannot be seen.
- Separate quiet and loud areas.
- Create a soft, quiet area where a child can choose to be alone.
- Pull equipment away from the walls. Utilize your equipment to create “nooks” and to visually invite people to come all the way into the classroom.
- Have any needed supplies and materials close and accessible to the children to encourage independence.
Tips for Arranging Infant & Toddler Rooms:
- Cribs should be spaced according to state regulations, and should not be touching or too close.
- There should be a “Play Area” away from where the cribs are. The Play Area should have ample space for mobile infants to crawl, move around, and safely explore.
- Safety is always first and foremost! Make sure any piece of furniture that is freestanding is durable and sturdy enough for a child to pull himself up on. Make sure that the classroom is completely childproofed, and anything within possible reach is safe for infants and toddlers.
- All areas of the room should be visible at all times. Mirrors can be strategically placed to see “blind spots”.
- Strategically put the cribs of the light sleepers in areas of least traffic and stimulation.
- The diaper-changing table should face the classroom so that the children are visible at all times.
- Have a place for parents to place diaper bags out of reach of toddlers. Often there are things unknowingly left in diaper bags (such as infant Tylenol, Ambesol, etc.) that a curious toddler could get into if within reach.
- Be mindful of traffic patterns. You’ll want to avoid people continually walking through the sleep area, or stepping over mobile infants to get to cubbies.