Preschool small groups are my favorite thing! I love sitting with only a few students and doing a fun activity with them. You can really get to know your students better and meet their needs when you’re at the teacher table with a small group.
So let’s look at how to set up the perfect preschool small groups area in your classroom!
WHERE SHOULD I PUT MY SMALL GROUP AREA?
One of the most important decisions to make about your classroom layout is where to put the small group table. First of all, it’s a must to have a good view of the entire room. Sit down at the table and take a look around. Can you see what’s happening in the far corner? Are there any blind spots where children could be obstructed from your sight? Can you see over toy cabinets and center shelves?
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I CONSIDER ABOUT WHERE TO PUT MY SMALL GROUP AREA?
It’s best to have your preschool small groups in the quietest location possible so students can hear you and not get distracted. Aim to have your table near a calm area like the classroom library rather than by dramatic play or the block center.
Next, you’ll want to consider what the children will be looking at while they’re in small groups. If they can see their classmates playing in centers or if they are facing a window or hallway, they’ll likely get distracted.
Finally, think about the types of small group activities you’ll be doing. If you’re focusing on literacy and math skills, you want to be close to the alphabet chart, word wall, or math manipulatives. If you’re using your small group table mainly for art projects, try to position it near the classroom sink or where you keep your consumable supplies.
WHAT KIND OF PRESCHOOL SMALL GROUPS TABLE DO I NEED?
Any type of table and size will work for your teacher table! I prefer a kidney shaped table like the one pictured. But I’ve also done preschool small groups at a long rectangle table and a round table. You’ll probably be using the table for other activities besides meeting with a group of students so make sure your table serves the other purposes you need it for.
WHAT'S THE BEST CHAIR FOR THE TEACHER?
When it comes to chairs, you need to be comfortable! I was lucky to have a chair that was taller than the tiny preschool size chairs in my classroom. Thank goodness! I’ve also known teachers who used a short kitchen stool or a rolling secretary chair.
Since I’m not in the classroom now, my teacher table is set up in the basement. I use it ALL THE TIME! It’s such a great workspace for prepping new resources and displaying my props for a Facebook Live.
I bought this cushioned rolling seat earlier in the spring from the At Home store for around $50 and I love it! It’s comfy, the wheels move around easily, and it doesn’t take up too much space.
WHERE DO I KEEP SMALL GROUP SUPPLIES?
A small bookcase, cabinet, or rolling cart behind your small group table makes it easy and convenient to keep what you need close by. I like to keep a second set of basic office supplies near my table. A pair of teacher scissors, pencils & pens, a notepad, paper clips, and stacks of sticky notes are a must!
You might also want to have the things you use regularly for small group activities such as flashcards, dry erase boards, and math counters, within your reach, too.
BE FLEXIBLE WITH YOUR SMALL GROUP AREA
Work and live in your classroom for several weeks and evaluate how your small group area is working out. Don’t be afraid to rearrange. Move the teacher table. Turn it to face another direction. Switch things around. Try a different set up. See what works better. Wherever you put your small group area isn’t where it has to stay all year long.
Do you want to know more about doing Small Groups in your preschool classroom? Get your FREE Small Group Success Guide here!
Looking for small group math activities for the beginning of school? This blog has oodles of ideas for you!