The Three Main Things to Consider When Choosing Materials for the Classroom

In early childhood settings, children naturally want to create stories and engage in an investigation. Their learning activities are aided with materials such as books, clipboards, paper, paint, an art easel, kitchen utensils, blocks, and puppets—classroom resources that allow them to explore and learn.


We’ve noticed that placing simple classroom components such as magnifying glasses and clipboards with paper in the interest areas encourages youngsters to start writing, playing, and investigating with them recently at a preschool school in Westfield, Indiana. We wanted to offer you three things to think about when it comes to your classroom’s materials.


Do the materials you’re using in your class encourage students to engage in collaborative writing?


Shared writing gives youngsters the chance to see sounds and words transformed into written text in real-time. Children learn that print has meaning by seeing it in the environment and using it in their games. They are learning that print has meaning while watching, imitating, and experimenting; they are also learning that there are rules when it comes to writing down and reading words, such as going from left-to-right and top-to-bottom punctuation, lowercase letters, and uppercase letters.


A clipboard, a piece of paper, and a writing utensil can all be used to encourage group writing in the classroom. Children want to write naturally; share what they’ve written with their friends; and document what they’ve discovered while measuring, counting, or sorting.


Clipboards with tiny slips of paper around the children in the class were enough to encourage them to establish a little eatery, take your order, and pass it on to the cook. They drew pictures of what their cake would look like after it was baked and showed them to their pals.


Do your school’s educational materials help children to explore and play?


Choose materials for the interest areas that allow children to explore things that might be completely new to them, such as ramps, count and thread stones, or offer familiar objects that are usually used by adults, such as oven mitts, restaurant menus, or measuring cups.


Children may have never seen a geoboard or child-friendly tweezers outside of a classroom, so giving them the chance to use them communicates that the class is a place where they can explore and test their ideas.


Children get a thrill out of using things that they see their family members using daily. Making to-do lists with a clipboard, working with a flashlight, or loading and unloading “groceries” from tote bags is an exciting way for children to become part of the household routines they observe adult people doing at home. These activities help to reinforce the notion that a classroom is a place where children can accomplish things on their own.


Do your instructional supplies help you, the instructor, in some way?


Take a look around your classroom for a moment. Are the resources helpful in guiding daily instruction and interest areas for the whole group and, more specifically, in your field? Do you have posters on which to write down kids’ ideas and discoveries? Do you have labels for your interest areas as well as block labels to aid independent cleaning—do you have everything you need to effortlessly guide their learning?


What types of materials should I include?

Include open-ended classroom resources that encourage kids to write, discover, and investigate as you’re organizing your classrooms and interest domains. Simple tools and ordinary objects may help children explore their ideas, immerse themselves in pretend play, conduct experiments, and discover answers to their questions.