Early Childhood Behavior Management Strategies

We all know disruptive behavior in the classroom is a pain, but the effects of poorly behaved students have more serious consequences.

First, disruptions can create havoc that impede students’ learning. When students’ attention is diverted from the task at hand, it can seem like a Herculean feat to get everyone focused again. And one informal observation estimated that a typical student experiences around 15 interruptions throughout the course of a school day. Add that up over the course of a year, and that is a lot of wasted time.

Second, when you are constantly dealing with disruptive students, it increases your stress levels. Yes, disruption among toddlers is to be expected and might be dismissed as, “just part of the job.” However, we all know just how much you juggle when dealing with young children. This accumulation of stress can cause burnout, leading to increased turnover rates, which can be costly all the way around.

Third, understanding how to behave in social settings, such as the classroom, is an important step in a child’s developmental process. And good behavior at this time affects so many other areas, including forming and maintaining positive relationships (a skill that will carry them through the rest of their lives).

So, it goes without saying how important good behavior is in the classroom. Luckily, there are a number of early childhood behavior management strategies you can incorporate into your teaching to mitigate disruptive behavior.

Below are seven tips for behavior management in child care to help you create a more peaceful classroom environment that will benefit your kids AND you.

Create structure

Having a sense of structure in your classroom has a number of positive effects on student behavior.

First, structure helps students better understand limits and boundaries. These two elements, along with expectations and consequences, are critical for helping children understand how to behave.

Second, for toddlers, structure and routines create an environment of predictability, which they crave. Kids need predictability to feel safe and better understand how to master the world around them at this young age. Only when they begin to feel safe and comfortable can they begin to learn and develop.

While there are some things that might be out of your control when creating a structured classroom environment (like class size) there are simple things you CAN do.

For instance, follow the old adage, “everything has a place,” and stick to it. Physical organization goes hand-in-hand with a structure and is one of the easiest ways to reinforce this idea. Second, make sure you have a schedule and stick to it.

Remember, schedules and routines are your friend.

Add play to the schedule

Speaking of schedules, one of the best childhood behavior management strategies is to add play to your students’ routine.

Many times, student outbursts are a result of bottled-up energy or frustrations they cannot verbalize. Think about yourself: when you feel stressed, you likely go for a walk or run or to the gym to work out. Just like you, children need an outlet.

Not only will daily play for toddlers help reduce anxiety, stress, and irritability, it will also help boost joy and self-esteem. In addition to helping with behavior, play also encourages creativity and helps with dexterity, physical strength, cognitive ability and so much more.

So, what is not to like?

Also, don’t forget to join in on the fun. It is a great way to better connect with your students, and when they feel connected to you, they are more likely to listen to you.

Finally, it is a great way to rediscover your inner kid!

Plan transitions

Are your transitions smooth and easy or rushed and unorganized?

If the answer is the latter, then that’s one area you can immediately correct to help with potential behavioral issues.

We know students respond differently to uncertainty. However, one thing is true regardless of the child: toddlers often struggle stopping one activity to begin another one. Think about yourself; no one wants to be interrupted when they are right in the middle of something (especially something they are enjoying).

In order to minimize behavioral issues that arise as a result of transitions, there are several things you can do.

First, make sure all your transition times are the same length, every time. The consistency will help your students’ with their routines. Second, make sure you give them a verbal cue (or some other auditory signal like a chime). The last thing you want to do is surprise them without any notice; that is the fastest way to find yourself in the middle of a meltdown as you are getting ready to begin the next activity in your lesson plan. Finally, make transition time fun. You can do this by incorporating a fun song or some other interesting activity that your students will look forward to.

And when thinking about transitions, don’t forget this is a great time to work with your students on their social skills. For instance, by pairing up students during the transition, it might eliminate some of their anxiety while also promoting collaboration (work with a friend during clean up).

By giving yourself enough time for students to gradually transition from one activity to another, along with fair warning, you’ll avoid stressful situations and reduce behavioral issues among your students.

Develop clear, specific rules

One of the most crucial early childhood behavior management strategies is setting expectations from the get go and sticking to them.

Sit down and create a list of classroom guidelines, keeping each one short, simple and easy to understand and remember.

For example, just about every early childhood education classroom has rules (or variations of) such as, “be kind,” “we listen,” “look with eyes” and “quiet voices.” Also, when developing your rules, steer clear of negative language. More on that below.

Once you’ve got your list of classroom guidelines, make sure you review each rule one-by-one with your students so everyone understands them. And when you review, make sure you’re being very specific so there’s no ambiguity.

Don’t be afraid to revisit the rules every morning, and throughout the day, to remind your students what is expected of them in the classroom.

Finally, make sure you are consistently enforcing the rules and in the same manner. As you know, toddlers pick up on things we might not expect them to. If they sense rules aren’t being enforced consistently and uniformly, they may begin ignoring them.

Accentuate the positive

When a child is not doing what you would like them to, your first inclination might be to scold them or use negative language. And while that is entirely understandable, it is not always the healthiest approach to remedy behavioral issues.

Instead of focusing on the negative, try to use positive language and feedback to encourage good behavior. Point out what children CAN do, instead of what they should not be doing.

Also, always be on the lookout for children exhibiting good behavior (like sharing a toy) and make sure to encourage and reward that behavior. Other kids will take notice. Finally, always be specific when offering praise versus keeping it general.

When you use positive language and acknowledge good behavior, you will help build a child’s confidence which works wonders for their mood and disposition, which helps reduce behavioral issues. Additionally, they will be more willing to please you in the future.

A picture’s worth a thousand words

It’s true, a picture is worth a thousand words when it comes to toddlers. They are wonderful visual learners (especially since their vocabulary is likely limited to just a handful of words or simple phrases), and visual supports complement verbal information and directions you give them.

Visual aids are great for behavior management in child care for a number of reasons. First and foremost, they turn abstract ideas into something more concrete a child can understand, which in turn increases the student’s comprehension and their independence (and who doesn’t want more self-sufficient toddlers?).  For example, use images of children demonstrating good behavior to help them understand what’s expected of them.

There are a variety of visual types that can help support toddler learning, including choice boards, emotion symbols, first/then statements, task sequences and so much more.

Additionally, you can use visuals to demonstrate proper student activity throughout the day.  For instance, hang a sign above the sink that shows proper hand washing technique. We know children will mirror what they see, so this is a wonderful way to empower them to mimic what they observe.

And don’t forget, visual aids are great to incorporate into your transition routines.

Engage parents

Family engagement is critical to so many aspects of a child’s success, including when it comes to early childhood behavior management strategies.

For starters, it’s helpful to understand what a child is dealing with outside the classroom walls. Perhaps they didn’t sleep well the night before or something that happened at home has carried over into the next day.

As a teacher, you need to understand what’s happening in a toddler’s world and take that into account when addressing challenging behaviors that might arise during the school day.

You also want to make sure you have a solid relationship with your students’ parents so you can have open and honest discussions about any problematic behavior that you’ve witnessed, so they can be on the lookout for the same behaviors at home. These aren’t the easiest conversations to have, but they become a lot easier when you’ve established a relationship with your students’ parents.

Are you interested in learning more about behavior management in child care and early childhood behavior management strategies? If so, CCEI offers GUI101: Classroom Management Strategies, a two-hour beginner course that provides a range of strategies and practices for promoting appropriate behavior, positive social and emotional development and a productive, effective learning environment. Course participants will learn to define mutual interaction as it pertains to children’s behavior in the classroom, identify aspects of effective praise and encouragement and demonstrate an understanding of the importance of routines for early childhood development.

Click HERE to learn more about our early childhood behavior management strategies course and sign up today!

Promoting Development With Online Special Education Certification

We all know a child’s most formative years happen between the time they are born and when they turn five. This is the time in their lives when they begin learning how to interact with others and the world around them, increase their language comprehension and body awareness and learn how to respond to new emotions.

However, for children with special needs, these developmental milestones happen much slower, and in some cases, might not happen at all.

That’s why having a special ed certification in the early childhood setting is so important. And that’s why teachers who interact with students who have disabilities should consider an online special education certification to better support and accommodate special needs students in their class.

Now more than ever, the demand for special education teachers is booming. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for special education teachers is expected to grow by eight percent between now and 2030.

So, if you’re looking for a way to grow in your career or a new direction, considering a special ed certification might be a smart route for you to pursue.

The growing need

Because the number of students diagnosed with disabilities is rising, the demand for qualified, trained educators continues to rise as well. That’s why special education certification is now, more than ever, critical to be able to accommodate every student’s learning abilities and pace.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates one in six children between three and 17 has a physical, mental, learning or behavioral disability, and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) found there were 7.3 million (14 percent of all public school students) who received special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 2019–20. Additionally, the NCES reported between 2000 and 2016, the number of students who received special education instruction increased by 400,000.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

The IDEA is the United States’ federal special education law.

Enacted in 1975, the IDEA (formerly known as Education for All Handicapped Children Act), advocates for the well-being of students with disabilities and ensures all children with disabilities are entitled to a free appropriate public education to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living.


  • Ensures all children with an identified disability receive special education and related services to address their individual needs;
  • Ensures children with disabilities are prepared for employment and independent living;
  • Ensures the rights of children with disabilities and their families are protected under the law;
  • Assesses and ensures the efforts of institutions providing services to persons with disabilities; and
  • Provides assistance to states, localities, federal agencies, and educational service agencies in providing education to children with disabilities.

It’s important for early childhood educators to understand the IDEA and have the skills necessary to identify the signs of potential special needs in students so they can help accommodate every child. After all, teachers are likely the ones who will refer students for assessment to any number of professionals to determine if they are eligible for assistance, which is another reason you should consider an online special education certification.

Defining disabilities

In order to better understand special education and what a special ed certification means, it’s critical to understand the different types of disabilities you might encounter in the classroom.

There are a number of physical, cognitive, and social-emotional disabilities that are covered under the IDEA. These include autism spectrum disorder, deafblind, deafness and hearing impairment, developmental delay, emotional and behavioral disorders, intellectual disabilities (from mild to severe), orthopedic impairments, specific learning disability, speech-language impairment, traumatic brain injury, visual impairment, and blindness.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

The CDC defines autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. Children with ASD often look like their peers, however, the way they behave and learn is what sets them apart.

According to the NCES, students with ASD account for 11 percent of children served under the IDEA.

If you’re interested in learning more about ASD, CCEI offers the one-hour beginner-level course Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder.  The course introduces teachers to ASD and the characteristics of children who are diagnosed with it. Additionally, the course introduces classroom strategies that support these students.


The IDEA defines this disability as, “[simultaneous] hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness.”

Deafness and hearing impairment

Deafness is an inability to comprehend verbal language due to an inability to hear, and hearing impairment, as defined by the IDEA, is “an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.”

Developmental delay

A developmental delay is when a child has not achieved the developmental skills expected of them compared to other children who are the same age. Delays occur in the areas of cognitive, play, motor function, social, and speech and language skills.

Emotional and behavioral disorders

Emotional and behavioral disorders are characterized by an inability to build or maintain relationships with peers and/or teachers; an inability to learn which cannot be adequately explained;  consistent or chronic inappropriate behavior or feelings under normal conditions; pervasive unhappiness or depression; and a tendency to develop physical symptoms or unreasonable fears associated with personal or school problems.

Intellectual disabilities

Sometimes referred to as cognitive disabilities, this term is applied to students who are limited in their mental function and skills, including communication, social and self-care. These limitations cause children to learn and develop more slowly than their peers.

Orthopedic impairments

These are severe impairments caused by birth defects, disease and other causes that adversely affect a child’s school performance. The IDEA category of orthopedic impairments includes a wide variety of disorders that are divided into three main categories – degenerative diseases, musculoskeletal disorders and neuromotor impairments.

Specific learning disabilities

According to the NCES, 33 percent of students who received special education services under IDEA during the 2019–20 school year fell under the category of specific learning disabilities.

A specific learning disability is defined as a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or using spoken or written language that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or do mathematical calculations.

There are a number of common learning disabilities, including Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, and Dyscalculia.

Speech-language impairment

The IDEA defines speech and language impairments as communication disorders such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.

Behind specific learning disabilities, this is the second-largest reported percentage of students who suffer from a disability.

Traumatic brain injury

Under IDEA, traumatic brain injury is a condition that has been caused by an external physical force that results in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment or both, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term applies to open or closed injuries resulting in one or more areas being impaired, including abstract thinking, attention, cognitive abilities, language, memory, and more.

These injuries change how a person acts, moves, and thinks, and may also affect how a student acts and learns in the classroom.

Visual impairment and blindness

IDEA defines this as a vision impairment that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance, and includes both partial sight and blindness.

Why special education certification is important

Early intervention at the infant and toddler stage is critical to helping students with special needs develop the life skills required to prosper.

Possessing a special ed certification will equip teachers with the knowledge and skills they need to provide specialized instruction to children who suffer from the behavioral, emotional, learning, mental and physical disabilities listed above.

In order to effectively navigate the classroom, meet the needs of those children, and ultimately help set them up for success, teachers interested in special education should explore a training program that gives them a deeper understanding of disabilities, strategies for effectively teaching these students and how to create a more inclusive classroom.

If you’re interested in expanding your professional horizons with an online special education certification, CCEI offers its Special Needs and Inclusive Education Certificate.

The certificate program begins with a basic overview of special needs issues that early childhood educators and professionals may encounter, recommended teaching and guidance practices, and basic requirements and guidelines under federal law.

So what are you waiting for? Click HERE to learn more about CCEI’s Special Needs and Inclusive Education Certificate and enroll today!

How to Promote Effective Communication in Childcare

As an early childhood educator, you’re constantly communicating with those around you: your co-workers, your students, and — most importantly — your students’ families. But, mastering effective communication with parents in child care can sometimes feel like an uphill battle.

Where should you start? How much can you really do? Are there any tools available that can help make communication easier?

At ChildCare Education Institute, we’re dedicated to providing teachers like you with the highest-quality training resources available to help you become the best possible educator (and conversationalist). And, because we have a number of courses focused on communication strategies in childcare, we’re sharing our top tips on how to promote effective communication in childcare.

Practice active listening.

Effective communication is just as much about how you listen, as how you talk. That’s why it’s important to make a concerted effort to show parents that you’re actively listening to their opinions, ideas, and insights. . Whether you’re meeting for a one-on-one conference or engaging in conversation during drop-off/pick-up, we recommend taking steps to show families you’re paying attention, including:

  • Providing verbal acknowledgments (e.g. saying things like, “I see,” “Yes,” or “Okay”).
  • Using body language to engage through non-verbal cues (e.g. making eye contact, having a relaxed posture, nodding along).
  • Paying attention to the parents’ non-verbal cues.
  • Ensuring the other party finishes their thoughts before interjecting.
  • Summarizing what the parents have said to make sure you’re understanding them correctly.
  • Asking open-ended questions that invite more detail (e.g. “I’d like to hear more about that.”).

By engaging in active listening, you’ll demonstrate to parents that you value what they have to say — and in doing so, you’ll encourage them to continue to openly communicate with you moving forward.

Communicate intentionally and respectfully.

One of the keys to establishing effective communication with parents in child care is treating each family with respect and understanding during all interactions (even the briefest ones). For example, if you have parents at your center who don’t speak English, try bringing in an interpreter for parent-teacher conferences and/or paying for a service that can help translate important documents into their native languages. By taking this initiative, you’ll not only show the parent how important they are to you and your center, but you’ll also be able to open lines of dialogue that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. If you don’t have room in your budget for a service or translator, Google Translate can be a helpful free option for translating written text.

Another way to ensure you’re communicating respectively is to take into consideration the family’s religious/cultural background, their gender identities, and their parenting arrangements or family structure. Once you’re aware of these elements, it will be easier to communicate with them in a courteous way (e.g. addressing them by their preferred pronouns, showing sensitivity when necessary). If you’re unsure of a parent’s preferred pronoun or a child’s at-home situation, we recommend including a question around the topic on your program’s registration survey.

Build trust with families.

It’s almost impossible to establish an effective line of communication between you and the parents at your program if they don’t trust that you have their best interests at heart. That’s why it’s critical to pay attention to the actions you take every day and make sure they’re demonstrating your commitment to students’ and parents’ well-being. This means:

  • Treating students and parents with respect and responsiveness.
  • Honoring commitments.
  • Being transparent and open.
  • Keeping your students out of dangerous situations.
  • Avoiding shady business practices.
  • Anticipating problems and addressing them as soon as they arrive.
  • Setting a positive example for those around you.
  • Showing professionalism in classroom and center environments.

Once you’ve established an element of trust with parents, it will be easier to communicate with them about student concerns and solutions in the future.

Open a two-way line of communication.

One of the most simple (yet important) communication strategies in childcare is to provide parents with a convenient way to initiate conversations with teachers and program staff. This can be as simple as offering open-door hours for parents to come and voice concerns or providing them with a feedback line where they can share their thoughts. However, we’d recommend taking it a step further and looking into a communication tool (like our sister company, LifeCubby) that allows parents to digitally message educators (and vice versa) at any time.

By allowing parents to proactively share information about their child, along with concerns about their behavior or progress, you’ll be able to gain a more complete picture of how the student is developing. You’ll also be able to receive feedback from families in real-time that can help your program grow and improve.

Be flexible about how you communicate.

Parent-teacher communication isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. While one parent might enjoy live chat updates, others might prefer face-to-face dialogue or written updates. That’s why one of our favorite tips on how to promote effective communication in childcare is to take a flexible approach with families.

Before your school year begins, ask parents how they’d like to communicate about their child’s day and progress. Then, take that into consideration as you make a plan for the year. If you have limited resources and can’t accommodate all styles individually, try a combination of mediums to help appease everyone. The different forms of communication available can include:

  • Email
  • Phone calls
  • In-person conferences
  • Virtual conferences (if your center is limited in-person visitors)
  • Digital newsletters
  • Written notes
  • Live chat/SMS messaging

As you talk to parents about their preferred mode of communication, also gauge how often they’d like to be updated. This will help you get a better idea of how often you should check in to ensure they’re feeling listened to and included.

Don’t wait until something is wrong to reach out.

While it’s obviously important to reach out to parents when something is concerning you about their child, it shouldn’t be the only time you and the parents connect. Make an effort to talk to families when their children experience “wins,” as well. For example, if Jamal volunteered to help you pass out supplies during art class, let his parents know at pick-up or send him home with a templated “good job” star note. Additionally, try connecting with parents simply to check-in and see how things are going. If you know a family is navigating through a big change or major event, take a few minutes to write them a quick note and let them know you’re thinking of them. This will help further your relationship with them and establish more open lines of communication.

Approach big conversations ready to collaborate.

If a student’s concern does arise, schedule time with the student’s parents to talk about the problem in person. Then, come to the meeting ready to collaborate with the family and work together to find a solution. When you communicate during the meeting, make an effort to understand where everyone is coming from and how each person can bring their own skills to the table to benefit the child. Finally, make sure you’re clearly addressing the issues you’re seeing with the student and backing it up with concrete evidence. Be sure to keep an empathetic tone throughout the meeting to help the family feel understood and show that you truly want to help.

Use mass communication for emergencies or center-wide updates.

Another tip for how to promote effective communication in childcare is to take advantage of mass communication resources during emergencies or unplanned changes. This will allow you to quickly share time-sensitive information and ensure that everyone is kept in the loop. We also recommend that you update any emergency response plans your center has in place (or create them if you don’t have any) to include a communications strategy for each emergency.

Host communication workshops at your center.

Talking with families is an essential part of childcare and something all teachers have to navigate during their tenure. As a result, each teacher likely has their own tips and tricks that they can share with others (as long as they have the platform to do so). Try hosting a communication workshop at your center once a year to allow teachers to share their own experiences, hear from guest experts on the topic and brush up on their skills. We recommend hosting these prior to the start of a new school year so that each educator can put their best foot forward with their new classroom.

Want to learn more about how to promote effective communication in childcare? Our online courses (including this one) can help. The best part? All courses are available 24/7 and accessible from any device — including your smartphone. To learn more about the 150+ courses we offer, click here.

Interested in demonstrating your commitment to establishing effective communication with parents in child care? Showcase your skills with our Communication and Interpersonal Skills Certificate program. Our online program covers communication strategies in childcare, verbal and non-verbal communication with children and so much more. Click here to learn more and start your journey today.

When it comes to teaching toddlers their ABC’s and 123’s, there are countless philosophies and early childhood curriculum approaches that programs can take instructing little ones.


And, while all programs are geared towards teaching students important social skills, improving their cognitive development and preparing them for future schooling — how they go about that can vary as there are several different types of preschool curriculum.


As a program director and/or owner, it’s important for you to select a common curriculum for all your students. Not only will this allow your teachers to teach more effectively, but it will also help parents know what to expect when it comes to in-class learning.


Below are six major types of preschool curriculum that vary in their early childhood approaches.


Bank Street

Originally developed in New York City at the beginning of the 20th century, this approach focuses on the whole child’s development. The play-based approach fosters active learning through hands-on activities like art, blocks, dramatic play and puzzles.


Social and emotional learning are the heart of the Bank Street curriculum which helps kids build a sense of self, discover their role within the community and recognize (and appreciate) differences among all those in a classroom setting. Preschoolers learning in a Bank Street environment tend to work in non-competitive group settings.



According to the HighScope website, their approach is to, “ignite children’s interest in learning by creating an environment that encourages them to explore learning materials and interact with adults and peers. [We] focus on supporting early learners as they make decisions, build academic skills, develop socially and emotionally, and become part of a classroom community.”


Simply put, the HighScope method believes children construct their knowledge through doing and being actively engaged with the world and people around them. Active learning, including natural play and interactions with the environment and other people, is at the heart of the HighScope approach. These hands-on experiences in the classroom help children develop problem-solving and conflict resolution skills. Consistent daily routines and well-organized classrooms help support the learning process at HighSope programs.


HighScope programs are especially popular in community centers and at faith-based organizations.



This is perhaps the most well-known of all the different preschool programs.


The Montessori method was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician, and over the last century, this child-focused developmental approach has been incorporated into schools around the globe. In the United States, the popularity of this curriculum grew following the creation of the American Montessori Society in 1960.


The Montessori curriculum includes cultural studies, geography, language, math, music and science, and movement and sensory exercises that help guide learning.


Montessori classrooms are unique. Instead of using desks, students use the floor or tables. Children also move freely about the classroom (since movement is an important component of this curriculum).


All teachers must have an early childhood undergraduate or graduate degree, as well as Montessori certification, and the curriculum focuses on all areas of a child’s development, including cognitive, emotional, physical and social. Many Montessori programs continue past preschool into the teenage years.


Parent Co-ops

Cooperative preschools are organized, administered and led by groups of parents with shared educational ideas and philosophies. The parents then hire a trained teacher who instructs the class based on the parents’ input.


One of the wonderful things about co-ops is they can focus on any of these other early childhood curriculum approaches or combine multiple ones for a truly unique experience for their children.


Reggio Emilia

This approach, which began in the Italian town of Reggio Emilia in the mid-19th century, is all about creating good citizens.


In these classrooms, there is no set curriculum. Instead, lesson plans are always evolving based on and guided by student interest and response. Basically, any child can direct the classroom learning based on curiosity and the questions they ask.


The Reggio Emilia Early childhood curriculum approach is practiced in more than 145 countries and territories around the world.



The Waldorf curriculum, a structured creative learning approach, was founded in the early 20th century and is based on Austrian scientist Rudolf Steiner’s insights and principles of education.


According to Waldorf Education, Waldorf schools, “offer a developmentally appropriate, experiential and academically rigorous approach to education… Waldorf education aims to inspire life-long learning in all students and to enable them to fully develop their unique capacities.”


Children in Waldorf preschool programs learn through play-based experiences, with an emphasis on creativity, including music and art lessons. Waldorf education also encourages children of all ages to have daily, unstructured outdoor play.


Finally, every teacher must be Waldorf certified.


These are just a sampling of the many different types of preschool curriculum available. And, while different preschool programs may want to focus on different things, at the end of the day the goal is always the same: to help the students become the best possible versions of themselves.


At CCEI, we believe students learn best when they’re actively engaged in the material. That’s why we launched our own play-to-learn style curriculum. Our research-based Pinnacle curriculum is available for both secular and faith-based programs and can be reused and recycled every year (saving you money in the long run).


To learn more about our type of preschool curriculum and how it can be implemented in your center, click here.

The task of sitting down and writing out all of your early childhood education career goals can feel daunting. Where should you start? How far in the future should you plan? And, once you have your goals nailed down, how do you start working toward them?


At ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI), we’re dedicated to helping early childhood educators like you meet your personal and professional development goals through online courses, certification programs and more.


That’s why we’ve put together this how-to guide to help you set and achieve your professional goals in childcare with ease:


Think about where you want to end up and plan backwards.

While it may seem counterintuitive, start your goal planning session by determining where you’d like to be at the end of your set period of time. Write down your dream destination (e.g. owning my own center, serving as lead teacher, etc.) in as much detail as possible. If you’re having trouble thinking about where you’d like to be, try describing your ideal day instead. What time do you get to work? What are you doing while you’re there? When do you head home, and how are you feeling at the end of the workday?


Get ‘smart’ with your goals.

Once you have an idea of where you want your career to go, map out the steps needed to get there. Then, take each step and turn it into a goal that can help guide you on your path to professional success. To ensure the goals you’re creating are realistic and can help you achieve your overall dream, we recommend putting each one through the SMART test. That requires asking yourself whether or not your goals are:


  • Specific: Is the goal itself clear and concise?
  • Measurable: Are there metrics you can use to determine when you’ve met your goal?
  • Achievable: Is your goal attainable? If not, what needs to happen to make it achievable?
  • Relevant: Does it ladder up to your larger professional goals in early childhood education?
  • Time-Bound: Is there a target date for your goal to be met?


By setting SMART goals, you’ll help ensure you’ve got a plan in place to succeed — and knowing that will help keep you motivated along the way.


Write them down.

Studies have shown that people who write down their professional goals are more likely to achieve them, so take a moment to physically write down the SMART goals you’ve created. If you’ve got a personal planner or calendar, input the deadlines for your major goals, along with reminders for when you should be at the halfway point. This will help you remember your goals and ensure you’re keeping yourself accountable for meeting them.


Find support.

Whether it’s your manager, co-worker or best friend, find someone to share your goals with. Talk to them about the motivation behind your goals, how you want to achieve them and what your ideal timeline looks like. Then, ask if they can help keep you accountable along the way via semi-regular check-ins.


Revisit your goals regularly.

Early childhood education career goals are not something you can set and then forget. Like all things in life, your professional goals can grow and change over time. Think about what you wanted in your career four years ago. Is it the same thing you’d want today? With that in mind, schedule time to regularly revisit your goals. Are your priorities still the same? If so, how are you doing in relation to your goal timeline? If you haven’t been hitting the benchmarks you’d hoped to, think about why that could be and see if your plan needs to be adjusted. Even if your goals and timeline are still the same, having that time to revisit your plan can help motivate you to push forward.


Celebrate the wins.

As you work through your professional goals in early childhood education, be sure to take time to celebrate whenever you successfully cross one off the list. This can be something simple, like treating yourself to an iced coffee on the way into your office, or it can be taking a day off to do the things you love most. By celebrating your accomplishments, you’ll be more aware of the progress you’re making and feel more confident about completing the remaining steps.


Whatever your early childhood education career goals, CCEI can help you achieve them. Click here to explore the 150+ online courses we have available, covering everything from diversity in the classroom to preparing for leadership positions at your program. Is earning a certification part of your plan? Click here to see how you can join the 21,000+ educators who have earned theirs online through us!

As a preschool teacher, one of your daily responsibilities is to figure out how to promote children’s social and emotional competence in the classroom. And, while fostering emotional development in early childhood education is an important task, it’s not always easy.


At ChildCare Education Institute, we’re dedicated to providing early childhood educators like you with the training and resources necessary to best support your students’ growth and development. And, because we’ve got a number of courses that focus on the topic (including this one), we’re sharing our top seven activities for social and emotional development for preschoolers:


Take a look inside a book.

Storytime can be an important tool for teaching your students. In fact, according to several studies, reading can help children spark and grow their imagination; learn the difference between real and make-believe; get to know words, sounds and language; and learn more about their culture and others. So, why not use storytime to further your students’ social and emotional skills, as well?


Dedicate at least one circle time per week to reading a book that talks about feelings and/or communication. Additionally, ensure your reading nook is full of relevant titles so students can use their independent reading time to explore the topic even more.


Not sure which books to start with? Some of our favorites include:



Lead students in a daily check-in.

Because students tend to learn better through repetition, having a daily emotions activity is a great way to ensure the skills you’re teaching are built upon and grown. Have your preschoolers start each day with an “emotional check-in” where they take note of how they’re feeling and record it. To do this, create a large board that has some of the most common emotions visually represented (e.g. a happy face with the word “happy” underneath, a crying face with the word “sad” underneath, etc.). Then, have students record their dominant emotion by placing a velcro strip with their name underneath the corresponding face or by clipping the emotion with a monogrammed clothespin. If you don’t have enough space in your classroom for a large emotions board, this activity can also be completed using emotion jars and named popsicle sticks.


Create strategy cards.

Strategy cards (like these from Liz’s Early Learning Spot) are one of our favorite activities for social and emotional development for preschoolers. After introducing the concept of anger to your students, spend some time talking about how the feeling can affect our actions. Have your students reflect on the different ways anger has affected them in the past, and talk about how we can take control of our emotions and deal with them in a productive way. Then, share with them that anger management isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution — and that how they choose to deal with their anger may be different from how their neighbor does. Finally, give each student their own set of strategy cards and let them know this can be a resource for them to explore different coping mechanisms. Challenge each student to select one or two strategies to try out the next time they are upset or angry in the classroom.


Host a classroom sing-along.

Does your weekly schedule include time for song and dance? If so, use your next music class to further develop your students’ social skills through fun songs like these from Songs for Teaching. Have your students sing along to songs that talk about conflict resolution, social boundaries, empathy and more. After each song, have your kids reflect on what they sang and how they can apply those ideas to their everyday lives.


To help demonstrate the students’ new skills to their parents, host a musical showcase where your classroom sings a set of emotional songs and talks about what each means. If you’ve got instruments, have your preschoolers play along.


Hold monthly compliment circles.

Show your students what kindness and respect look like in action by hosting regular compliment circles as part of your activities for social and emotional development for preschoolers. During this time, invite all of your kids to join you in a circle on the ground with their legs stretched out. Then, have one student volunteer to start by picking another person in the circle, saying their name out loud and giving them a compliment. The student who received the compliment will say, “Thank you!” and pull their legs in to sit criss-cross. Have students take turns giving out compliments until everyone in the circle has their legs crossed.


Once compliment time is over, have students reflect on how it felt to make others smile and to receive a compliment from a friend. Challenge them to continue spreading that joy outside of the classroom walls.


Get crafty.

Arts and crafts projects are among the easiest activities for social and emotional development for preschoolers — especially our favorite craft, “What is a good friend?” First, work with your students to create a list of qualities they think are important to have in a friend. This can be done in small groups, in a large circle time setting or individually at their desks. Once the list is created, invite your kids to draw pictures for each of the qualities. For example, if a student says sharing is an important quality, they’ll then draw a picture to represent what sharing looks like. Once all of the pictures have been completed, hang them around the room so students have a reminder of what it looks like to be a good friend.


Let the credits roll.

There are few things students (and teachers) love more than an in-class movie day. Cap off a week of feelings-focused lesson plans with a film that will reinforce what your students have been learning. Take breaks throughout the movie to talk about what’s going on with the main characters and ask your students if they can point out some of the things they’ve learned recently in the film. After the movie ends, have your students reflect on what the movie has taught them about emotions and social skills.


Don’t know which film to play? We recommend:


  • “Inside Out” (all emotions)
  • “Frozen” (friendship)
  • “Cars” (teamwork)
  • “The Good Dinosaur” (grief)


Want to learn more about fostering emotional development in early childhood education? Our online professional development courses can help! Click here to explore our 150+ courses on everything from how to promote children’s social and emotional competence to how to strengthen parent-teacher communication.

As an early childhood educator, you’ve likely heard of a learning group before — but do you know how to incorporate them into your classroom, or why they’re so important?

At ChildCare Education Institute, we’re dedicated to providing teachers like you with the highest-quality resources and training for your classroom. And because we’ve got a number of courses that touch on childcare and learning groups (including this one), we’re spilling the beans on everything from the importance of small groups in the classroom to how you can implement them easily and effectively.

What is a learning group?

A learning group is exactly what it sounds like: a small pod of students (usually between three and six) who work together with an adult to improve specific skills. Unlike the traditional “whole group” method of teaching, learning groups allow teachers to better meet the needs and skills of each individual student.

Why should you incorporate learning groups into your classroom?

Incorporating group learning activities for preschoolers into your classroom routine can have a number of benefits for you and your students including:

  • Developmental Growth: Because preschoolers are still developing socially and cognitively, they can easily become overwhelmed in large group settings. By separating your students into smaller pods, it’s easier for them to interact with one another as well as the teacher assigned to their group. The small group setting also provides them with a safe place to practice expressing their thoughts and needs with each other to complete tasks.
  • Interaction Between Peers: By separating your students into small groups, you’re also encouraging them to build relationships with students they might not normally interact with. This structured interaction can help create a more inclusive classroom and can help expose students to other children with different backgrounds and points of view.
  • Cooperation Between Students: When students meet in small groups, they get to practice working together to achieve a common goal. By doing that, they’re able to practice their cooperation skills, along with their communication and sharing abilities. Finally, the group setting is a great way to introduce students to compromising (and the fact that everything won’t always go their way in life).
  • More In-Depth Observation: Small groups also make it easier for teachers and staff to more closely watch each student and observe their behavior when working with others. Not only does this allow for more accurate growth assessments, but it also makes it easier for teachers to note which students need more help in certain subjects.
  • Differentiated Learning: Every student learns and develops at their own pace. By separating students into learning groups based on ability, you’re able to meet children where they are and introduce ideas/activities that are on-par with each student’s skills. These groups can also help you provide specific support to each child to help them move to the next “level” of learning (often called scaffolding instruction).

How should you group your students?

Once you’ve committed to incorporating small group instruction into your classroom, it’s time to decide how you’ll create each group. If your primary goal is to help each student improve their skills, we recommend grouping your students based on similar abilities. You can do this using anecdotal evidence or assessment data.

Other ways to segment your students include mixed ability groups (so they can help teach each other), interest-based groups (to help promote individual interests and foster relationships) and self-selected groups (to allow students the opportunity to select their own peers).

Once you’ve segmented your classroom, set aside a designated space for small group time so your students know where to go when it’s their group’s turn. Be sure to have all materials prepared in advance so students don’t have to wait on anything once they get into their group.

How should the time be structured?

It’s important to remember that childcare and learning groups shouldn’t just be unstructured play time. Instead, have an adult direct students through an activity that requires collective effort from the group. Then, once the task has been introduced, take a step back and let the students work independently to complete it (using the time for individual observation and to give help as needed). While your students complete the activity, be sure to encourage them to work together.  

When should the groups meet and for how long?

Group learning activities for preschoolers are the most effective when they happen daily, so try to schedule in a regular block of time for your groups to meet. Select the duration based on the attention spans of the children within the group — and increase it throughout the year as your students grow and mature. We recommend starting with 10 minutes and then adjusting accordingly.

What group learning activities for preschoolers are best?

When selecting learning group activities for your preschoolers, it’s best to start by determining which skills the members need to work on. Once you’ve settled on the skills, you can then select interactive activities that help develop them. It’s also important to remember that each activity should be adjusted to meet the needs of each individual group. Some of our favorite activities include:

  • Clothesline Names: This literacy project from Pre-K Pages is the perfect way to help students learn letter recognition and fine motor skills. The game can be done with each student’s individual name, or they can tackle it as a team using sight words from earlier lessons.
  • Pass the Ice Cream: Help instill the importance of sharing (while also working on motor skills) with this activity from Sunny Day Family. Your students will have a blast — and they’ll love getting to bring one of their favorite stories to life.
  • Roll and Dot the Number Math Activity: This interactive game from Fun Learning for Kids is a great way to practice math skills with your group. Have students take turns rolling the die and have the rest of the group mark off the corresponding numbers.
  • Imaginative Play: These imaginative play scenarios from Crafty Kids at Home are a fun way to get your students to express their creativity alongside fellow group members. Watch as your students assign different roles to each other and play in their given roles.

Want to learn more about how to best support your students’ growth and development in the classroom through childcare and learning groups? Our online professional development courses can help! Click here to learn more.

Women getting her CDA Certificate

What is a CDA Certificate?

Whether you’re brand new to the world of early childhood education or have been working with kids for years, obtaining your CDA Credential could be beneficial for many reasons. Before we can talk about the benefits, it’s important to understand – what is a CDA certificate? According to the Council for Professional Recognition, the Child Development Associate Credential is among the most widely known and accepted credentials in early childhood education. The nationally transferable CDA certificate is based on a set of core concepts and competencies that aim to help children successfully move from one developmental stage to the next.

The CDA Credential provides an opportunity for educators working with children from birth to age 5 to demonstrate and strengthen their knowledge, understanding, and practices when teaching in early education. Not only is the CDA Credential important for advancing in your career, but it is also a major professional development learning experience and essential resource moving into the field, making it a great option for both experienced and new educators.

Top 5 Reasons to Pursue Your CDA Certification

Obtaining your CDA Credential is a necessary next step for professional development. The certification process is both challenging and rewarding and will present new opportunities for your career. Let’s take a closer look at why professionals in early childhood education should consider obtaining their CDA Credential.

1. Professional Growth

Anytime you are learning and growing in your career knowledge, you’re investing in your future and professional development. Getting your CDA certification will ensure that you are up-to-date on the latest childhood development research and teaching methods. With the Child Development Associate Credential training program at CCEI, you can build a professional foundation and strengthen your personal capabilities to prepare you for a career in early childhood education and continue to guide you moving forward. Ready to find out how to get a CDA certification? Visit our CDA certification page to get started.

2. Increase Your pay

 In some states, certain centers incentivize early care and education workers with monetary bonuses. When centers have highly qualified staff, they appear more desirable to prospective families. Getting a CDA Credential benefits both you and your workplace. It’s a win-win.

3. Better Job Opportunities

Having your CDA Credential also makes you a better candidate for potential job opportunities. While some centers require CDA Credentials, to others it may help you stand out from other applicants. Almost any potential employer in the early childhood education field will recognize and appreciate the CDA Credential. It also shows that you are invested in being the best educator possible by furthering your own education and knowledge.

4. Meet NAEYC Standards

 The National Association for the Education of Young Children is an organization that promotes high-quality, research-based learning in education centers across the country.  NAEYC lists 10 program standards on their website for families to consider when selecting an early childhood program. One of these standards involves staff competencies and lists CDA Credentials as a requirement for qualifying educators.  NAEYC promotes state and national professional development systems that help individuals in the early childhood field make connections between their training and the classroom.

5. Gain Parents’ Confidence           

Parents and families are more likely to place their trust in educators that have a higher level of training. Your CDA Credential gives parents of the children you work with peace of mind that they’ve left their little ones in good hands. Having a CDA certificate also demonstrates your dedication to the field and communicates that you care enough to continue your own learning. Parents see that you’ve invested time and money into becoming a better educator for their children and it improves the parent-teacher relationship.

These are only a few of the many benefits that come from pursuing your CDA certification. Grow your knowledge, boost your pay and job prospects, and gain the confidence of the parents at your center when you obtain your CDA Credential. Start bettering yourself today and read more about how to get a CDA certification with CCEI.

Classroom Organization Tips for Teachers

In early learning environments, organization is essential for optimal learning. Proper organization promotes exploration, builds independence, and helps keep children safe. Organized environments can also boost engagement by reducing distractions and cutting down on interruptions to children’s play. There are several areas of organization to consider as an early learning professional.


Furniture in early learning environments acts as not only space for work and storage but also helps define the learning centers of the classroom. Here are things to consider when thinking about the organization of the furniture:

  • Storage shelves should be used to indicate boundaries between learning centers. This means, whenever possible, they should be arranged away from walls since walls already present a boundary. Shelves should be low to the ground to reduce blind spots in the classroom.
  • When organizing learning centers create specific spaces for children to explore related materials. Here are a few common learning centers:
      • Blocks and transportation
      • Dramatic play
      • Creative arts and music
      • Math and manipulatives
      • Science
      • Literacy
  • Active centers, such as blocks and dramatic play, should be located away from quiet centers such as literacy or art center.
  • Messy centers (art) and sensory tables should be located close to the sinks to make handwashing convenient.
  • Shelves that store particular materials, such as puzzles, should be located next to the workspace intended for that activity. This means that tables need to be located within the defined learning centers. This helps children easily collect materials for play and return the materials to their proper place when done.
  • Shelves and tables should be arranged to reduce runways that can invite unsafe movement in the classroom. If running in the classroom is a problem, consider adjusting a shelving unit by a few feet to break up the open runway.
  • Furniture should be the correct height and size for the children in the room. Click here for guidance.
  • Inspect rugs for frayed fabric that should be removed. Remove or reposition any rugs that curl up at the ends to prevent tripping and other accidents.
  • Include space for children to work together in large and small groups. Children should have options to work in different group sizes, and independently, throughout the day.
  • Organization of furniture and learning centers should include a quiet calming space that children can opt to visit when overwhelmed or in need of a break from the large group. Just like adults, sometimes children need time away to decompress. This area should be easily supervised, while still providing space to be away from the group.

Supplies and Materials

In early learning environments, materials and supplies should be made available for children to explore. This can pose a problem if there is not a clear way of organizing materials. Teachers should spend time teaching children about the organizational system that exists in the environment.

  • Orient the children to what each center looks like when it is cleaned up. Post a picture of the cleaned-up learning center in the center so children have a reference. Practice cleaning up and recognize that this can be a daunting task for children. Break the task down into manageable tasks and adjust your expectations to meet the children where they are, developmentally speaking. Doing so reduces frustration and builds independence.
  • To help children understand the organizational system, use visual cues. Bins should have a label and a picture of the materials that should be placed in the bin. The shelf where the material is stored should have the same label attached to it.  You can take a picture of the materials or cut out pictures from a magazine.
  • Using learning centers can cut down on the spread of materials across the room. For example, if you have defined your block area with a rug and some shelving units, children will learn that that is the space for building.  If you place science materials on a shelf next to a table, children will learn to use that table to explore the science materials. Doing so will prevent materials from different learning areas from spreading all over the room. Of course, materials from learning centers can “visit” other learning centers, but you certainly would not want a child to start finger painting all over the library center.
  • If you have room for storage, you have the opportunity to rotate materials every so often. As you observe children, notice the toys that they are playing with and those that they are not playing with. Perhaps the ignored materials are too easy, or too challenging, for the children. Those materials can be shared with another classroom, or stored in a closet until children are ready to explore that toy. Having novel materials in the classroom help to reengage children with the materials in the learning environment.
  • Dramatic play materials can be stored in theme-related prop boxes. Prop boxes can be rotated between classrooms (after proper cleaning) or stored in the closet. Prop box themes can include anything from housekeeping to airport to pet store and much more. All those materials out at the same time can become too overwhelming for young children, preventing them from engaging in meaningful exploration.

Children’s Personal Belongings

The learning environment belongs to the children. They spend hours of each school day in the classroom and should feel at home in the space. Children’s cubbies should be a space where personal items are stored.

  • Provide bins that are large enough for the materials that will be stored in cubbies.
  • Place pictures of children’s families on their cubbies (and around the room, as well) to help children feel at home.
  • Use sturdy folders to store papers and forms for families.
  • Cubby areas tend to become cluttered with personal belonging and should be inspected each week for items that can be sent home.
  • Consider paperless family communication tools that can reduce the clutter in the cubby area and ensure that no important forms get lost.
  • Children’s belongings include the works that they create. Common display options include bulletin boards. Unique works of art should be displayed and kept fresh based on curriculum topics.
  • In addition to artwork, teachers can also take pictures of children’s construction efforts, playdough creations, and sorting piles. These pictures can also be displayed as a way of highlighting learning and building self-esteem.

In a classroom with 10-20 children, things can become very disorganized, very quickly. Teachers should develop daily, weekly, and monthly tasks to stay on top of the organization of materials and personal belongings. Develop helpful checklists, divvy up the tasks, and involve the children in maintaining the organization of their classroom environment.

Teaching is an incredibly rewarding and demanding profession. Remaining organized in and out of the classroom is a challenge for many educators, especially when resources are scarce. Many teachers feel that a disorganized classroom negatively impacts the effectiveness of their teaching methods and materials, potentially even resulting in missed learning opportunities. Fortunately, there are a few simple classroom organization tips for teachers that can save time and create efficiencies.

1 | Start Organizing by Decluttering

The best way to begin any organizational process is by eliminating what is not needed and then slowly adding more items as they become necessary. If it’s not useful or mission critical, find another loving home. This is particularly true if you’re organizing a small classroom where every inch counts. After removing unnecessary furniture and clutter, empty out the currently available storage spaces. A foundational principle of effective organization is that items to be stored must adapt to the space available, not vice versa. This means that you will want to visualize all of the available (or potentially available) storage space before going any further. Once all of the storage spaces are emptied and the furniture has been arranged for maximal spatial efficiency, you might be able to picture the space in a completely new light and reimagine the layout. Once the space is set, it’s much easier and faster to incorporate the remaining classroom organization tips for teachers covered in this article.

2 | Use the Classroom Walls

Go off the walls! While some classroom walls are covered in charts, maps and pictures, many are also barren and underutilized. There are an almost endless number of ways to use the flat, straight edge of a wall for more storage space. Some common ways include the following suggestions:

  • Distribute or receive assignments, store papers and much more by pinning or taping folders to the wall. If done properly, cardstock folders should create perfect pockets for storage, allowing you or students to customize their own!
  • Put up wall-mounted bookshelves, which are easily accessible and also display the available options with the covers facing out – enticing younger readers particularly well.
  • Let art projects dry by stringing clothesline along the width of a wall, high enough off the ground to avoid being knocked inadvertently but low enough for all to admire.

3 | Use Vertical Storage Solutions

Since effective organization for school teachers is all about managing constraints, it’s almost certain that you’ll have to save space by incorporating vertical storage components. Simple vertical storage solutions include standard bookshelves; especially those that mount directly to the wall as they protrude less into the room. Many teachers also utilize vertical storage bins, which can be great for holding entire activities or the personal belongings of a student as the bins are more private than a shelf and keep everything together in an organized way. The biggest benefit of vertical storage solutions is that they create more floor space that can be used for seating, walkways, tables or other physical activities.

4 | Stretch Storage Space Further

Get even more out of your existing shelves, cabinets or other furniture by installing dividers, pull-out racks or other in-cabinet storage solutions that make the space more functional. These storage solutions are specifically designed to help you fit more items, or items of a specific size and shape, in an enclosed area.

5 | Label Everything

Organization for school teachers is not just about clever storage solutions or creative management processes. Fundamentally, effective organizational practices for teachers are about making it easier to find what you need, when it’s needed. Clear labeling will help you find things faster and help students understand exactly where to put items away. Use consistent naming schemes and structure so that you don’t have to guess when reading a cryptic label.

6 | Recycle and Reuse Household Items

There are many ways to save money and get creative with storage containers. Old or unused items that most people have in their own homes or workplaces can be repurposed to hold pencils, desk items, craft supplies, personal belongings, school projects, and much more. One of the best parts about reusing old containers is that you won’t feel stressed if one breaks or gets messy. After all, that’s their purpose! Household items that are commonly repurposed for classroom use include:

  • Mason jars
  • Milk or juice cartons
  • Crates
  • Vases
  • Soda boxes

7 | Keep Student and Teaching Information Organized

Another key way in which organization for school teachers differs from other occupations is the additional level of preparedness required to accommodate a substitute teacher, a new student or any of other surprises that threaten classroom stability and lesson plan continuity. Adequately addressing these unforeseen disruptions requires a different kind of organizational endeavor: information management. Some of the top classroom organization tips for teachers from other teachers include the following:

  • Have a designated folder with extra materials set aside for new students, or for a substitute teacher that might have to take over at a moment’s notice.
  • Create and always have handy a classroom roster for notes, roll call, etc.
  • Consider sending a brief email newsletter that keeps parents in the loop. This can be an excellent way to ensure that students have what they need each day, and that families are well informed.

While organization for school teachers might look different depending on individual preferences, following these tips will hopefully help you be successful in organizing your classroom to become the most efficient and accommodating space for teaching students year after year.