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Materials & Resources for an Early Childhood Classroom

Instructor: Nate Sullivan

Nate Sullivan holds a M.A. in History and a M.Ed. He is an adjunct history professor, middle school history teacher, and freelance writer.

In this lesson, we will learn about providing useful and appropriate resources to students in an early childhood classroom. We will identify the types of resources that can be beneficial, and we will see how they can be used to enhance learning for all students.

Selecting Resources that Will Enhance Learning

Imagine you are a first grade teacher at an elementary school. The school has outdated and minimal resources. You feel the students in your classroom are being deprived of essential resources that will help them get the best education possible. You discuss this with the principal, and to your surprise, you are given a budget and the task of selecting new resources for your school. It is up to you to research and purchase the best materials, resources, and technologies that will meet the needs of all students, including those with exceptionalities. Popular resources include books, art supplies, puzzles, games, technological devices, etc. As you begin your quest for updated resources for the elementary school, you feel overwhelmed and bombarded with options and realize the importance of sticking to your budget. How will you decide what to get? What will be effective, but is also realistic and within budget? Let's dig deeper and learn about resources and materials that can enhance learning in childhood classrooms.

Resources for Students of All Learning Styles

It is important to remember that all students learn differently. Kinesthetic learners learn by doing or by engaging in activities. Auditory learners learn through hearing, while visual learners learn through seeing. Most people are a blend of these learning styles. It is important to select resources that will benefit students of all learning styles. This might mean selecting blocks or educational toys with kinesthetic learners in mind; music resources with auditory learners in mind; and DVD's or maps for visual learners. Educational videos are tremendous resources that most students enjoy. Just be careful not to over-do it and rely on these too much. Remember, you want to diversify the types of resources you are using.

A diversity of resources is an important part of providing a quality education.
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Many bookstores have special sections filled with educator resources. Coloring books and worksheet books are excellent resources. These are great because you can make copies of the content and use the resource books over and over.

Globes, maps, and posters are essential resources common in most classrooms. They are used to help young students understand location and develop geography skills. They also help make the classroom look nice. Also, be mindful of the layout and decorations in your classroom. Some students with exceptionalities such as Autism or other sensory issues tend to have more difficulties in classrooms that are cluttered, asymmetrical, or over-stimulating. If you have your basic resource needs met, you may want to invest in resources that enhance the aesthetics of your classroom. This means buying colorful posters, decorations, or nice-looking lamps or rugs. These items help make the classroom a cozy, comfortable, and fun place to be.

Plants or a fish-tank may be appropriate resources. These help make the classroom interesting, not to mention they add a sense of calm and serenity. Fish-tanks and plants can also be used for scientific observation. Of course, there are a lot of factors that can play into deciding on resources. You obviously have to stay in budget. You'll also probably want to choose resources that you can use for a long time, are practical, and are a good value. Think carefully about what you really need, and what resources will benefit your classroom most.

When deciding on resources, be mindful of the layout of your classroom. Your classroom will have many practical purposes.
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