Preschool and early childhood classrooms should be full of fun and learning. Creating a stimulating learning environment in a preschool classroom is essential for active minds. The furniture in an early childhood classroom provides a fun and safe place for young learners. We’ve written the essential buying guide for furnishing a preschool classroom – Including everything from tables and chairs to active play and toys.

early childhood classroom with bright furniture

What Does a Preschool Classroom Need? 

Think of an early childhood classroom or play area. It probably has play furniture, toys, and maybe some cubbies. Designing and filling a classroom is important in creating the right atmosphere for learning. A preschool classroom needs many types of furniture and storage to function its best. The most important areas of a functioning early learning classroom include reading/writing, active play, dramatic play, and work.

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Reading and Writing Area 

A preschool reading and writing area should be comfortable and have several cozy spots to practice writing and look at books. 

Furniture

Accessories

Reading/Writing Area Layout Tips 

Here are some tips on laying out a cozy and functional early learning reading/writing area. 

  • Store books in a fun display for storytime. Allow children to pick out their stories for the group to hear, or they can look through books on their own! 
  • Display artwork, letter work, or drawings on the walls in this area to make it feel more personal
  • Have soft spaces to sit and listen to a story or look at books
  • Include a small table for drawing and writing practice
  • Have a teacher’s chair in the nook for reading stories to the class

Work Area

Ensure that preschoolers have a place to practice things like lettering, drawing, and creating with a work area. A work area consists of activity tables and chairs as well as plenty of storage for organizing supplies. 

Furniture

Work Area Layout Tips 

Keep students productive and working together with these work area layout tips. 

  • Set up chairs in a conversation-style arrangement to promote collaboration and active listening – this could be in groups of 4-5 students ensuring they all have an area to work 
  • Utilize stacking chairs for easy transformation of the space into a play area 
  • Add creation spaces like art centers for things like painting, coloring, and crafting 
  • Ensure there are places for teachers to sit and interact with students 

Play and Dramatic Play

The best part of preschool is the freedom to play and use imagination. It’s essential to have a variety of toys, play tables, and games to help foster communication and motor skills.  

Tip: Consider the age group of students when choosing types of play furniture and toys. Toys such as play tables are more suited for younger children, while games and reading are better for older learners. 

Furniture 

Type

Theaters and Dress Up

Play Kitchens

Play Tables 

Age Group
  • Early Childhood 
  • Preschoolers
  • Early Childhood 
  • Preschoolers 
  • Early Childhood

 

Toys

Type

Trikes and Riding Toys 

Blocks 

Active Play 

Age Group
  • Early Childhood
  • Early Childhood 
  • Preschool
  • Early Childhood 
  • Preschool 

Play Area Layout Tips 

The age group of your early learners will dictate the types of toys and play furniture that you need in your classroom. Preschool children would benefit from imaginative play furniture like play kitchens, puppet theaters, and dress-up closets. Early childhood classrooms would benefit from sensory tables and interactive toys like trikes. Use these tips for organizing the play area in your classroom. 

  • Create a corner for playtime activities. Be sure to keep toys separate from learning and work areas to prevent distraction. 
  • Have different sections of play so children of different ages can enjoy something age appropriate. For example, keep toys and blocks in their own section for young children. Play furniture like theaters and dress-up closets should be grouped together for older children. 
  • Include storage in the play area to keep toys and costumes organized. Have tubs and shelves available to encourage children to help in clean-up.

Circle and Community Space 

The heart of any preschool classroom is a community area. Community areas are designed for group activities like story time, watching movies, and napping. A community area should have plenty of comfy spaces to sit and lay on, so be sure to include cushions or mats for every person! 

Furniture and Accessories

Type Use How Many You Need

Large Rug 

  • Create a gathering space for the classroom

 

  • 1-2 per classroom – Every child should have a space to sit

 

Mats 

  • Have each child be responsible for bringing a mat to and from the group area – it gives them a place to sit and a job to do!
  • One for every student, plus 1-2 extras

 

Bookcase 

  • Include the class in picking the daily story or game by displaying the options in a bookcase

 

  • 1-2 per area

 

Community Area Layout Tips 

  • Lay out rugs in a circle or semi-circle to promote conversation and active listening 
  • Use bookcases to section off the community area from other areas in the classroom. This gives the area a distinct feel from the rest of the room and can help with attention 
  • Include a teacher chair – Teachers need a place to sit, too!
  • Have games and books in the area for children to choose from – They’ll appreciate the opportunity to make decisions

Storage 

With all the toys, games, books, and supplies that go in a preschool classroom, you’re going to need plenty of storage to keep them organized. Add some storage furniture and supplies to your classroom and see how great it looks! 

Storage Essentials

Type Use How Many You Need

Storage Cabinets 

  • Keep craft supplies, paper, and extra teaching supplies stored and out of sight
  • 1-2 per classroom

 

Cubbies

  • Have children keep personal belongings like coats and bags stored in cubbies

 

  • One cubby per child with 1-2 extras

Tub Storage 

  • Store blocks, craft supplies, or toys

 

  • 1 per classroom

 

Bins and Tubs 

  • Use in cubbies, bookcases, closets, or mobile storage

 

  • As many as you can use!

 

Classroom Storage Tips

  • Give each child a tub to use in their cubby to keep personal items organized 
  • Utilize mobile storage for activities like art and hands-on learning 
  • Be sure to keep the risky items like cleaning supplies out of reach for children. Tall storage cabinets are ideal for high-up storage!

More on Classroom Furniture 

Are you looking to furnish a grade school classroom? Read our Classroom Furniture Buying Guide for more information! 

Check out our other K-12 articles in our Resource Center.