Rand, ahead of time, explain it to the children,

M. (2011). The physical environment:
Group time. Retrieved at thepositiveclassroom.org/the-physical-environment-group-time/

Rand (2011) states that “I just finished teaching a graduate course in which
the students each visited six different early childhood classrooms. When they
gave reports to the class about what was interesting and what they learned from
each of the classrooms, the physical environment was the most frequently
mentioned – in both positive and negative ways. The physical environment is
quite a challenge because there is only so much that a teacher can change, yet
it has an enormous effect on children’s behavior. In my own observations of
classrooms, I’ve noticed that one of the big problems is the group meeting
area. Here are some of my suggestions for preventing behavior problems during
group time, and helping children stay engaged:

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1. Enough Space. Don’t
let a small rug determine the size of your meeting space! I’ve seen third
graders sitting so close they couldn’t help touching each other. I’ve seen
wriggling preschoolers continually bump into each other because the rug was too
small. Determine how big a circle you need so that all your children can sit
without touching each other and still see you. Then get a rug, or carpet
squares, or two rugs, or be creative in delineating the space you need. I
strongly prefer children sitting around the edge of the space rather than in rows.

2. Personal Space. Make sure each child can determine
where their personal space is. Either use carpet squares, use patterns embedded
in the carpet, make lines with tape, or systematically teach children how to
sit so they have personal space. This would need to be done repeatedly with
frequent modeling and reinforcement.

3. Teacher Materials. Have a place to store or put your own
materials that you’ll need for activities: white board, audio player, books,
charts, etc. Make it clear what is your space and remind children of your own
personal boundaries.

4. Consistent Procedures. If you let a couple of children sit on
chairs one day, then the next day other children will want to! There may be
good reasons to allow a child to sit on a chair rather than the rug, but think
this through ahead of time, explain it to the children, and be consistent. You
may want to have all children sitting on the rug, no matter what. Again, the
important issue is preventing your group time from being derailed by children
moving around, asking for chairs, getting up, etc.”


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