Goodbye, 2020! Hello, 2021…
Let’s take a look at some amazing trends for this year and how you can implement them in your classroom or home. The one thing we know for sure about 2021 is, no matter where your child is learning, it definitely looks different than it did at the beginning of last year.
Trend #1: Everything has a place and is in its place
In terms of classroom furniture, look for pieces that can be collaborative and easily distanced. The Double-Sided Reading Bench is the perfect mix of collaboration, separation, and organization. This comfy bench comes with 6 bins that sit under the seats to store goodies and keep them separated and in their own space. The divider between the 2 benches can hold books and papers. Or you can bring in a little nature and set some beautiful planters in there. Kids and teachers can sit together while maintaining social distance.
Organizational storage pieces like 15 Tray Storage Cabinet and the NEW Sign-in Message Center will also be helpful, they can cut down the clutter in your room or home and can even act as sanitation stations. It’s a win-win really, with surfaces that are easy to disinfect and personalized workspaces.
Trend #2: Flexibility
In spring of last year, COVID-19 shut down businesses and schools at an astounding rate, leaving parents and students scrambling to continue the school year as calm, collective, and comfortable as possible. Because of that, teachers and parents alike are working to prepare for future unpredictable events.
With a vaccine in the works, soon we may return to an unrestricted in-person life. However, we all saw how quickly our lives changed last March, investing in a functional and comfortable home office or classroom is the way to go. Flexibility is key.
Giving kids optional seating is a great way to invest in your classroom. With a large selection of flexible seating, kids can create their own space to learn best. When kids are comfortable, they can focus their energy on learning. The Turtle Seat® is a great place to start, they allow students to naturally fidget and rock or move without disturbing the other kids in class. The 2 flat sides aid in stability and the textured handles provide tactile stimulation. As a bonus, we even have a size just for teachers and parents!
The Shape Sorter Seats provide flexible seating and a teaching tool in one. Not only are the kids learning their shapes in a creative way, but they are also learning colors and matching while creating a cozy social seating space for storytime and group activities.
Giving students this freedom to be comfortable can motivate them to be more productive.
Trend #3: Project-Based Learning
Another important educational trend is project-based learning. Project-based learning encourages students to be more active by not just reading a lesson but by working on a team to really learn the lesson. Many classrooms are using skits and puppets to teach lessons in early childhood. The kids are acting out the skits collaborate, activate their critical and creative thinking, and enhance communication skills.
The Puppet Theatre is a great investment that can provide years of fun, collaborative learning in your classroom. Children will discover dozens of ways to use this special unit. Dry-erase marquee and front panel will be fun to customize for each activity. Theatre includes a sliding curtain and plenty of storage shelves in the back. And don’t forget the puppets! Whether you buy them or make them out of socks, just have fun.
Trend #4 STEM and Nano Learning
While STEM has been around since 2001, it is needed now more than ever. According to the U. S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are growing at 17%, while other occupations are growing at 9.8%. This STEM abbreviation stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. STEM activities provide hands-on and minds-on lessons for the student. Making math and science both fun and interesting helps the student to do much more than just learn.
Adding pieces to your classroom that are interactive can ignite your inspiring students’ creativity for all things STEM. The Sand & Water Table would be a great addition to your classroom. You can use it indoors or outside. Add water or sand and let the students build a sand tower or dig a well using sand and water. Let your imagination go and watch your students do the same while learning about science, technology, engineering, and math! Add a Tabletop Magnifier to your classroom or home! Have your students go on a scavenger hunt collecting acorns, grass, and pebbles, and then let them explain or draw what they see under the magnifier.
Educators are now introducing nano-learning methods to reduce pressures in the classroom. But what is nano-learning? Nano-learning is 5 to 15 minutes long, highly targeted learning that covers a single subject. It offers small nuggets of information that can be viewed on a range of devices. Poor attention span has always been an issue in the classroom, with students struggling with long, lackluster lessons that held no collaboration or interaction. Parents and educators alike are starting to understand that each child comes with different sets of needs to learn and unique strengths. Adding a computer station for these nano-learning sessions is an investment that will pay for itself.