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How Should an ECE Classroom Be Like a Good Retail Store?

To love what you do and feel that it matters – how could anything be more fun?
Katharine Graham

“I help early childhood teachers plan and implement optimal learning environments for children,” writes college instructor Frances Carlson in the Exchange Art of Leadership series.

“To help them focus on what children need…I ask students to tell me what it is about their favorite store that makes it their favorite...In reflecting on my students’ comments…I’ve discovered ten tricks from the retail world that help guide us as we establish environments for our children.”

Here is a sampling of those tricks:

  • Know your customers’ names and say them often, in a positive context…

  • Cross-merchandise…(The child building in the block area may decide to put signs on a structure…If we follow retail’s method of cross-merchandising, the child will have paper and pencils or markers in the block area, as well as in the writing center.)
  • Sudden changes in the environment confuse customers…

  • Self-serve…(In children’s classrooms, make materials and supplies readily available.)”

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