The role of furniture in a nurturing early childhood environment.
Pre-K students are especially sensitive to their environment to the extent their behavior is often cued by the space and surroundings. Early childhood furniture goes a long way toward creating an environment that is both welcoming and appropriately stimulating for early learners. Designers at Smith System learned long ago that there’s more to effective early childhood school furniture than simply scaled-down elementary classroom furniture.
Welcoming early learners, directing their energy.
Outfitting a Pre-K classroom with appropriately scaled furniture is a must. This first step not only removes a barrier to learning and facilitates concentration and interaction, it makes the students feel comfortable in the surroundings and builds their self esteem by making them feel the room is designed for their needs. Smith System offers a wide array of choices – all appropriately scaled for early childhood students.
Shape, another design element of early childhood furniture, also subtly communicates a message of familiarity and comfort to students, spoken through soft curves and gentle angles, a message that welcomes students to the classroom. Finally, color helps engage the students. Recent studies show that primary colors are most appropriate for early childhood students, and don’t provide too much stimulation to Pre-K learners, as can be the case for older students.
Defining spaces and activities.
In an early childhood classroom, furniture like tables and low-rise shelving creates spaces that help manage the students. Again, the furniture has to be appropriately scaled, so that the teacher can see students throughout the room. Breaking up the room into zones not only gives a sense of coziness to the environment, the smaller spaces exert a passive form of control and deter running and rough play.
In addition to a meeting area that can accommodate all students, early childhood classrooms are often broken into: art/writing, blocks, dramatic play, math/science, language/literacy, science and music areas. Because of the prevalent use of manipulatives, storage should be also be considered when evaluating needs for early childhood classroom furniture.