As an educator, you want to create classroom spaces that are inspiring and comfortable places for children to learn. Accomplishing that goal isn't easy, but finding the right inspiration can help you make an effective and creative classroom design that provides children with a variety of learning opportunities. Utilizing designs and objects that inspire and excite you as an educator will also help revitalize your passion for teaching and make learning more fun for both you and the children in your care.
You can find inspiration for your classroom spaces anywhere–start by thinking outside of the box and visiting places that can spark your creativity. The authors of Inspiring Spaces for Young Children suggest that you use the following places and objects as inspiration for creating an engaging, innovative classroom for the children in your care:
A trip to a home decorating or furniture store can provide a lot of great ideas for your classroom spaces. For example, have you ever thought of using shutters as classroom dividers? Visiting a paint store and looking at the different paint swatches on display can also help you think beyond the traditional paint colors used in classroom design. Restaurants and hotels, lighting stores, farmer's markets, fabric shops, and carpet/tile stores are all wonderful places to find inspiration for your classroom.
You can go online and find countless websites full of classroom design ideas for teachers. Pinterest is a great way to find and keep track of DIY design projects for your classroom. Books, TV makeover shows, catalogs, and magazines are a few other media-related sources you can utilize as inspiration in your search for classroom design ideas.
Outdoor spaces and outdoor-related shops can provide lots of inspiration for your classroom design and setup. For example, a trip to a local flower shop may inspire you to create a classroom flower shop for your dramatic play learning center. Children can take orders, shop, make bouquets, and calculate orders as a part of the experience. Other great ideas for outdoor inspiration include oceans, lakes, rivers, and ponds; forests, woods, and parks; outdoor and pool showrooms; nurseries and landscape companies; garden shops; sporting goods stores; and botanical gardens.
Art can help you create innovative and visually appealing classroom spaces for your students to use. Try visiting an art fair for a variety of art project ideas and creative ways to display children's artwork in your classroom. Using art as inspiration can also help you think of new, exciting ways to incorporate photography and painting in your lesson plans. Museums, galleries, art and craft shows, hobby stores, and art festivals are a few other art-related places you can visit for inspiration.
Flea markets, yard sales, auctions, consignment shops, and estate sales are all great places to find design inspiration for your classroom. By going to yard sales and auctions, you may find an old piece of furniture that you can refurbish for your classroom or a few affordable decorative pieces to finish the look of a classroom space. Remember, one intriguing resale item can help spark a whole new design idea for your classroom.
Take a moment to stop and look at the architecture you see every day. Bridges, windows, doors, arches, columns, blueprints, decorative metal, fences, and gates can provide you with a variety of design ideas for your classroom spaces. Incorporating architecture in your classroom design can also help children learn about engineering and the history of famous landmarks and structures.
Be sure to read Inspiring Spaces for Young Children and our other Insights and Inspirations articles for additional classroom setup and design tips.