As teachers head back into classrooms this fall, we want to take a moment to share some tips for setting up your space. In two parts, Dr. Karen Norris, Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Momentous School shares her expertise on this topic.

Here’s part two: areas to include in your classroom


At Momentous School, we encourage teachers to consider the following areas in their classroom setup:

A space for group time

A space for small groups

Individual space

A calm-down space


Let’s dive deeper into each of these four areas.

A space for group time

Think of a group space as the place where you’ll build community. It’s where you’ll have your morning circle and closing circle, class meetings and any other whole-group activities.

Ensure this space can fit all bodies comfortably, so no one is struggling to fit or fighting over space.

A space for small groups

Consider how your small group space will be used and design it accordingly. Do students need to sit in chairs? Do they need to write? It is helpful to make sure this area has everything it needs so that students aren’t dragging chairs over or having to go back to their desks to get supplies. If there aren’t duplicate items to stock this space, build routines and procedures which include clear instructions for what students will need bring with them before gathering in this space.

Individual space

Every child needs an individual space to call their own and a place to store their own items that are not shared, such as notebooks and other classroom materials. This could be a cubby, a basket on their desk or a pouch on the back of their chair. Since the rest of the classroom is a shared space, it is important for children to have at least one small space where they know their materials are kept safe just for them.

Calm down space

Classrooms need a space where children can go to self-regulate or calm down when needed. Some classes call this a peace place, a reflection center or any other name. The premise is that it is stocked with self-regulation tools and a child can use in the space whenever he or she needs to.

[Learn more about a calm down space here.]

Ensure the calm down space is inviting and comfortable, but also neat and tidy. It won’t help a child self-regulate if the area is messy or crowded.


Want to know more about setting up a great classroom environment? Here are three books we have used:

The Space: A Guide for Educators by Dr. Robert Dillon

Redesigning Learning Spaces by Dr. Robert Dillon, Ben Gilpin, A.J. Juliani and Erin Klein

Classroom Spaces That Work by Marlynn K. Clayton and Mary Beth Forton

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Partnering with Parents in the New Age of School


Reminding Students (And Ourselves!) How To Do School Again


Three Tricks To Master Students’ Names In A Virtual Back-To-School World

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