The power of "pretty" classrooms.

November 11, 2010

photo credit: Good.Is

Via Good.Is "School systems give short shrift to the physical needs of their students in other ways—they use school buses without seatbelts, send backpacks home filled with weighty textbooks, cut gym class to the bone, run jocks through sometimes life-threatening football drills, and serve junk food as part of the federal nutrition program. So it's not surprising that few districts have bothered to improve their furniture, but it's dismaying. "We've seen in adults that if you put them in the right chair, their performance increases," says Jack Dennerlein, a senior lecturer on ergonomics and safety at Harvard University."

 I honestly believe this theory.  And yes, it's partly because of my Montessori classroom experience.  Lets face it, Montessori classrooms are supposed to be beautiful.  It's part of the philosophy, really!  In the classrooms I have observed that look somewhat messy, the class itself seems more chaotic and unorganized.  The classrooms i've seen that are simple, well organized, clean and just plain pretty tend to create a calm and productive environment.  Unfortunately it's just not in a lot of schools budgets to enhance the appearance of their classrooms but by just doing a few simple things as teachers, the appearance and energy of our classrooms can be completely transformed:

1. Have a pretty vase of flowers somewhere in your classroom always. (ask a parent volunteer every two weeks) Or some form of plant life.  It really brings something wonderful to the classroom!
2. Take down the posters, charts etc hanging all over your walls.  Instead, hang one or two pieces of artwork.
3.  Don't clutter your shelves, desk, etc with papers and supplies.
4.  If you teach in a traditional classroom, arrange desks more like tables instead of rows.  It will give the room a more "at home" feel.
5.  Create a well organized, comfy reading area.  a nice oversized chair, couch or a rug with throw pillows will  make your classroom feel inviting and comfortable.

What do you all do to your classrooms? I'd love to know!


  1. I used to work in a traditional school with excellent second grade teachers. Their classrooms had wonderful spaces for the children. Kids could sit on the floor, in a chair, kneel, or even stand while they did their classwork. The space was simple and encouraged community. I wish more teachers would reexamine their classrooms.

  2. As an 8th grade Social Studies teacher, I think that I need an "Extreme Classroom Makeover". Help!!!


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