The child-centered classroom: shelves

The child-centered classroom: shelves

As a general rule, when I set up classrooms, I find that it is most helpful to make sure that shelves face the area that you want the children to play…

For example, if I have a shelf with art supplies on it (an art center) then I will set the shelf up near a table or facing the table that the items on the shelf should be played with.

When it comes to selecting shelves (or building them) I like to make sure they are sturdy, a good height for children, and can free stand in the middle of a room.

With good, sturdy, freestanding shelves – I am able to place the shelves strategically throughout the room. Shelves can be used to…

  • Divide up the room into small areas (centers)
  • Provide natural and easy to identify boundaries of play
  • Make the room look interesting, inviting, and organized
  • Cut down on the amount of open or unused space in the middle of the room

What I ultimately want to do is create an environment, using the furniture in the room, that makes sense to young children. I want the children to be able to put away their own toys or activities and to choose freely from the items on the shelves.

Once I have my baskets and shelves all figured out – then I am ready to start selecting the materials to go on each shelf…


The classroom environment is a partner in the teaching process!


  • Sherry and Donna Posted December 14, 2010 1:16 am

    We love to use our shelving to create inviting nooks and inviting play spaces too. Another irresistible post Deborah!
    Donna 🙂 🙂

  • Deborah J. Stewart Posted December 14, 2010 6:37 am

    🙂 It is fun to create the play spaces!

  • Scott Posted December 14, 2010 2:52 pm

    I’m enjoying this series. Thanks, Deborah.

  • Deborah J. Stewart Posted December 14, 2010 9:42 pm

    I always enjoy having you come visit me Scott:)

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *