Childcare room setup ideas

Setting up the physical environment of the childcare setting so that it projects a welcoming inviting atmosphere is crucial in gaining maximum engagement from children. With the right childcare room setup, children are more likely to develop skills and interests while becoming confident independent learners.

Establishing an environment that is supportive of child growth and development starts with a properly designed child care room layout plans. Well thought out areas give educators the space and opportunities to properly observe and positively interact while encouraging children to develop a love of learning.

The Areas Requiring your Attention

When putting all your childcare room ideas together, there are a couple of key areas that you need to concentrate on these are interest sections, wall displays, furniture and materials.

Interest Sections

Special interest areas can be set up to help support play based learning. The beauty of these is that the areas can be “preset” with equipment, toys and accessories to cater to special interests. Some ideas for special interest areas are but not limited to – blocks, art and craft, computers, library, puzzles, science and nature, toys and whatever else that fits your curriculum.

Wall Displays

Another critical area to consider is how to make use of wall areas… Wall displays are a great way for children to connect and feel part of their environment. Make use of staples like posters, art and craft displays and photos to leverage this feeling of connection. The key is to plan wall displays in advance to make them both coherent and engaging.

  • Display programming and planning essentials in an easy viewing place preferably close to the entrance
  • Dedicate a specific wall to displaying art work Make children’s art work easily identifiable by placing name cards under each child’s artwork.
  • A Photo Wall is another great way to promote that sense of belonging for children. Photos can be changed regularly and revolve around certain themes such as e
  • A Birthday Calendar is a great interest generator
  • Posters – can be used to great effect They can be used to deliver specific messages or create awareness. Ideally posters on display should be consistent in theme and message.

Of course, your centre will only have so many walls available and what is displayed on the walls is entirely up to you. Provided that the walls are used to promote inclusiveness, and develop positive connections within the centre they will be being used to good effect.


Regardless of the size of the room, the overall layout and use of furniture will play an important role in the  child’s learning and development.

  • Large open spaces are likely to encourage children to run instead of walking and this is liable to cause problems. Break up large spaces into smaller defined areas. This can be down by strategically using tables, chairs, shelves, mats and other furniture to clearly define  This will also help children to  become familiar with boundaries during play.
  • Shelves can be used to great effect in defining areas. A shelf placed at right angles to a wall helps to define space and creates a boundary for a specific experience.

When furniture is used to define paces and areas, it helps children to focus on the activity that they are involved in.


When choosing materials, thought should be given to how they are displayed. Materials should be displayed in such a way that they are easy to find and that they are not swamped by other objects…

Consideration should also be given to using natural materials wherever possible, thereby enabling children to explore  natural elements of the environment and gaining a greater understanding of the natural world.

Questions to Consider

A childcare setup with calming colours and wood furniture

There are a number of key questions that need to be considered before implementing your child care room layout plans. Ask yourself such questions as

  • What will it look like and how will it feel?
  • Will it be a place that you would want to play in as a child?
  • Will it meet the needs and requirements of the children who attend your centre?
  • Is it cluttered – or is there too much space?

How often should the setup be adjusted?

The current consensus is that continuity builds confidence and certainty. However, there is always a danger that children can become bored with a particular setup over time. Often this is because  they aren’t aware  of everything available in the room. Observation will often reveal underused areas that can be “rediscovered.’

Should the children participate in the setup?

Wherever possible, the opportunity should be taken to involve children in childcare room setup ideas. A planning meeting that involves their participation in deciding where things should go will help to build a sense of contribution. Proper childcare room setup helps to build an atmosphere that is conducive to  some serious play and fun learning. Children are bound to love playing and learning in an environment that they helped to build.