8 effective strategies for creating a calm classroom environment

Blog thumbnail: 8 effective strategies for creating a calm classroom environment

Have you ever walked into a classroom only to find your students fidgeting, interrupting, daydreaming, staring out the window, making paper planes, forgetting their inside voices and the stories that NEVER end... Did I miss anything? Ha! If you don’t laugh you’ll cry.

You've probably become quite used to the daily chaos that comes with being a teacher. But what if I told you that you have the power to transform your classroom into a calm, relaxing, and productive haven for your students (and you!).

In this post, I’ll show you how to bring calm into the classroom with eight proven strategies you can implement right away. Think simple breathing exercises, mindful design and even adding elements of nature. These practical tips and tricks that will help you foster a peaceful and productive learning environment.

Immerse yourself in the beauty of an Australian classroom decor set up by Miss Jacobs Little Learners.

With these tips, you can create a beautiful classroom haven like this one featuring my Australiana collection.

1. Build a learning space that is free of overwhelm 

If you're anything like me, a calm learning environment is a top priority. After all, it's better for both your little learners and you. So when designing your classroom, it's essential to strike a balance between functionality and aesthetics. Enter MJLL!

OTT classrooms with *too* much going on are a recipe for overwhelm. I'm all about minimalist designs and neutral tones that help enhance focus and calm atmosphere.

Helping you achieve a calm and engaging learning environment is the motivation behind all of my classroom decor packs. Even my colorful packs like Spotty Brights are cohesive and easy on the eyes because I know the last thing educators need is overstimulated little ones.

Create a welcoming atmosphere with a spotty Boho cozy corner featuring bunting lettering from Miss Jacobs Little Learners.

Find tranquility in the Spotty Pastels zen zone, adorned with calming decor by Miss Jacobs Little Learners.

This cute cozy corner created with my Spotty Boho bunting by @sunny.day.teaching is the perfect place for students to relax. Or create a sensory zen zone for students to regulate themselves. 

Enhance your classroom with ombre neutral alphabet letters in this cozy corner, adding a touch of elegance from Miss Jacobs Little Learners.

Ombre Alphabet Posters in action in this teacher's cosy corner.

2. Ensure your space is organized and clutter-free

Getting organized is essential for a productive and peaceful learning environment. So if you haven't already, it's time for a Kmart, Amazon, Target or Walmart haul to stock up on practical storage bins, trolleys, trays, and boxes. Next up, you're going to want to grab some gorgeous labels so you can get your kids helping out with putting everything in its place. Check out my binder covers and classroom labels and give yourself permission to pinch the label maker from the storeroom for a couple of hours.

My top tip: Be selective with furniture and decorations to avoid overcrowding your space.

Organize your teaching tools with Daisy Gingham teacher toolbox labels by Miss Jacobs Little Learners.
A teacher toolbox will help you keep all your small items organized and easily accessible. Product: Daisy Gingham teacher toolbox labels.

3. Incorporate elements of nature into your space

Have you ever noticed when you’re out for a hike, hanging at the beach or even walking in your local park your mind and body feels at ease? That’s because nature has a soothing impact on the mind and body. In fact, a 2017 study has shown spending an average of two hours in nature each week can make you feel happier, more relaxed and more productive – so bringing more elements of nature into the classroom is a no brainer.

Just grab a few plants and one of my nature-inspired decor themes such as Modern Jungle, Australiana or Boho Plants. You could also take your learners on outdoor nature walks or explore the natural environment in your lesson plans with my living things and life cycle unit.

And in case you missed it, here are my five tips for creating a nature themed classroom. 

@young.minds.bloom has the right idea – filling her space with nature-themed decor from the Botanicals decor collection.

4. Provide spaces for student self-regulation

Include designated spaces in your layout where students can go to self-regulate and manage their emotions throughout the school day. A calm down corner is guaranteed to be your new best friend when it comes to classroom management. Fill this area with toys, soft animals, books and games. These areas can provide a safe and supportive environment for kids to regulate their emotions and be effective in reducing stress and anxiety.

Side note: no judgment if you need to send yourself to the calm down corner for some self-care at the end of a tough day. BYO wine.

Check out this fab sensory tool kit from @_miss_williams_ over on Instagram

5. Stick to a routine 

When students feel organized and prepared, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated, which can lead to improved academic performance and positive mental effects.. One of the easiest ways to help them do just that is to establish a routine.

Routines provide structure and predictability, which can help students feel safe, more secure and in control. When they know what to expect each day, they can better manage their time and focus on their tasks, and develop a sense of responsibility and accountability.

Keep your class on schedule with the Daisy Gingham visual timetable designed by Miss Jacobs Little Learners. 

A visual timetable can help students know what to expect at different times of the day. Product: Daisy Gingham Neutrals visual timetable

6. Encourage mindfulness in the classroom 

Did you know that mindfulness-based interventions have been found to reduce anxiety, depression, and stress in both students and teachers? By incorporating mindfulness practices such as breathing exercises, meditation and calming music, teachers can help students develop emotional regulation skills and promote a sense of relaxation and well-being.

7. Create a positive classroom culture

A positive classroom culture can improve student motivation and keep students engaged in their learning. Teaching tools like voice level displays and classroom posters can help lift the mood and behavior of your little learners and encourage more positive interactions among peers. Nurture a sense of community and belonging and provide opportunities and activities for your kids to share their thoughts and feelings in a safe and supportive space.

Decorate your space with Boho plants motivational posters for an inspiring learning environment by Miss Jacobs Little Learners.

Motivational posters can help you foster a supportive classroom culture. Product: Boho Plants motivational posters

Foster positivity with Boho plants affirmation station labels from Miss Jacobs Little Learners.

Boho Plants Affirmation Station bringing those positive vibes to everyone’s school day.

8. Model calming behavior

I’ve always had a feeling that my kids mirrored my mood and behavior. And it turns out that feeling was right! According to a study published in the Journal of School Psychology, when teachers model calmness and emotional regulation, students show lower levels of anxiety and aggression and higher levels of academic achievement.

You can model calm behavior by speaking in a soft and gentle tone and demonstrating patience and understanding. Avoid raising your voice or becoming visibly upset, as this can result in a tense and stressful atmosphere.

Your calm classroom environment awaits 

While this guide explored eight practical tips for a calm classroom, it wouldn’t be very zen to implement them all at once, right? Get started slowly and intentionally by choosing two or three of these tips that resonate with you the most and focus on implementing them first.

To shop teaching resources and classroom decor to create your own calm learning space, be sure to check out the Calm Classrooms collection which is always being updated with the latest tools and resources.

Since we know how much students benefit from routines, you may also like to share your plan with your students and explain why you are making these changes. Encourage their feedback and participation in the process. Not only will you be SO glad you added a little calm into your classroom but your students will thank you for it too.

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