A co-worker and I got into a mini-debate awhile ago. It started when she asked if I wanted a shelf for my room. I told her that although I appreciated the offer, it didn’t really match the colors in my room. She then said, “Yeah, I know, but I just thought it would make your room less….I don’t know….boring.” So then I said, “What do you mean by ‘boring’?” So she explained that she felt my room didn’t have a vibrant, carefree vibe…it felt boring to her. And I thought, “Huh, okay…to each his own I guess…” I then explained to her the reason my room is the way it is and in the end we agreed to disagree. Here’s the scoop:
I have made a conscious decision in my classroom to create a very calming, neutral color scheme. Looking around my room you see a lot of blue and green (in various shades) with some splashes of purple and grey. There are also tan and brown shades…mostly though natural wood or basket materials. My main area rug has a splash of bright color as do the bulletin board boarders and my word wall alphabet. The only other major splashes of bright color are the children’s work which is hung all over the room. I feel the color scheme is very earthy and natural and it helps me focus on the kids and what needs to get done.
I know how much energy young children have…how they find it hard to sit still and use inside voices. I also have read various articles about how color affects mood and behavior. So when I got my current classroom I wanted to set up a blank canvas of sorts for a couple different reasons: 1) to subliminally encourage the children to behave a bit calmer and 2) to use the room as a backdrop to display all the children’s work. My room isn’t quiet or still…there is always noise and activity…but it’s not chaos and wildness…they are focused on what they are doing. And their work does tend to pop against the color scheme.
I have nothing against a room full of primary colors. I also don’t think that teachers who have very colorful rooms have children who are wild and out of control. I have seen many pre-k classrooms that are lovely and full of color everywhere you look with shelves, rugs, walls, toy bins, doors, and tables all various colors! And in these rooms I’ve seen children behaving the same way they do in mine. And if that’s what suits you…great. It’s just not me…too over-stimulating.
As far as neutral vs. color goes…I have seen (both online and in person) rooms that, for me, hit a good balance. One that comes to mind that I like the best is the Teach Preschool Children’s Studio. There is a lot of neutral in the space (walls, floors, cupboards, and most shelves) with bright pops of color all about (rugs, chairs, and some furniture). I really like this space and I could see sending my child here or working here myself without being overwhelmed.
In the end each teacher has to do what feels right for them. When I walk into my class each day I feel calm and relaxed…and I hope my kids do too. It’s our home away from home…and I want us all to be comfortable and happy together. So far, I think we are.