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It should be noted that the classroom environment is one of the critical aspects of early childhood development. In terms of creating a literacy environment, it is worthy of mentioning that students of these age groups are intensely responsive to the physical settings in which they can interact with objects using their senses and learning mechanisms. Therefore, educators should place particular emphasis on the way they organize the environment for their students (DeBruin-Parecki & Slutzky, 2016). Importantly, the objects in class should be not only attractive to the eye but also be functional. Also, the educator’s interaction with the classroom setting and students is equally significant in developing literacy. The purpose of this paper is to create and analyze classroom environments for Birth to Pre-K and K to Grade 3 children.
Classroom Environments and Literacy Components
For Birth to Pre-K group, the classroom environment will be organized to engage students in physical, emotional, and cognitive activities. It will include intentional and experiential learning that is particularly important for children of this age. The crucial element will be the classroom’s organization, schedule, furniture, and accessories. Notably, the environment will include a playground and outdoor spaces (Wang, 2014). The area will have distinct learning centers and an area where students can be assembled to provide group instruction. In K to Grade 3, the environment will include multiple subject areas with well-defined activities spaces. Importantly, in this group, gross motor movement activities will be accompanied by cooperative work and entertainment; therefore, enough walking space will be provided.
The literacy components for Birth to Pre-K will include content posters, labels, displays of student works, and pictures. K to Grade 3 classroom environment will be expanded to include displays of books and other graphic and visual representations and word/concept walls (Wang, 2014). In both age groups, the educator will promote literacy exploration through games, physical activities, and student interactions. Importantly, in the first group, students will work with peers and with the teacher while, in the latter group, one-to-one and individual work will be practiced to a greater degree. In Birth to Pre-K, the emphasis will be made on oral language through exposure to experiential learning and the use of visuals as well as alphabetic code learning through the reference to word walls and content posters (DeBruin-Parecki & Slutzky, 2016). In K to Grade 3, the development of literacy will aim at print knowledge and use.
Similarities and Differences
The main similarity in literacy components for the two groups will be the exposure to both oral and written language. Therefore, the classroom environment will include materials for listening/reading comprehension and vocabulary learning. The accessibility and use of print will enable the teacher to develop in children the comprehension of phonemes and graph-morpheme patterns (Woolley, 2014). Nevertheless, in K to Grade 3, students will be actively exposed to written/print language such as storybooks and so on. Through the interaction with texts, children will enhance their reading skills, comprehend the concepts of print, and practice their shared and guided reading (DeBruin-Parecki & Slutzky, 2016). It should be emphasized that in both cases, to enhance literacy, children should be able to explore the environment individually and together with peers relying on teacher instruction. Therefore, the setting will include plenty of walking space for children to interact with literacy materials.
Component Changes and Conclusions
In terms of component changes, in Birth to Pre-K, they will include phonemic awareness, phonics, and vocabulary development. In K to Grade 3, the students will be driven towards reading fluency and reading comprehension strategies (Woolley, 2014). In the first case, alphabet and phonics instruction will be significant to support a child’s understanding and memorizing. Different visual aids such as pictures, schemes, and graphic representations will be placed around the class area. In the second case, the components will be more advanced to expose children to books and study texts for guided reading so that children can advance from decoding words to deep text comprehension. Thus, following these strategies, students will be able to enhance their literacy levels in a gradual but comprehensive manner.
DeBruin-Parecki, A., & Slutzky, C. (2016). Exploring Pre-K age 4 learning standards and their role in early childhood education: Research and policy implications. ETS Research Report Series, 1, 1–52.
Wang, X. (2014). Understanding language and literacy development. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Woolley, G. (2014). Developing literacy in the primary classroom. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.