High-quality classroom environments are a critical foundation for early childhood programs. They provide engaging focal points that enrich teacher-child interactions and inspire children’s independent play and exploration. The Classroom Environment Checklist (CEC) is a tool that early childhood professionals can use to evaluate and improve their classroom environments. The tool can be used to set goals for classroom enhancements, track progress over time, and provide a direction for coaching or technical assistance. CLI now includes this tool for two age groups: Infant & Toddler and Prekindergarten!
The Infant & Toddler CEC helps professionals document the presence and quality of toys, materials, books, and other important classroom features, as well as general classroom arrangement. Most of the items in this tool apply to both infant- and toddler-aged classrooms in center-based and home-based child care settings.
The Pre-K CEC focuses on the presence and quality level of instructional planning tools (e.g., lesson plans, progress monitoring tools), meaningful literacy and print centers and materials (e.g., letter wall, availability of books), and the overall design and management of the preschool classroom and individual centers. The PDF can be downloaded from the following link and a digital version of the tool is accessible for TSR Online-eligible organizations.
The Classroom Environment Checklist Analysis provides key points on the benefits for the classroom and the opportunities available to children when the items are fully met at a level three.
After completing the Classroom Environment Checklist in the classroom, teachers and administrators can view the following photographs as examples of high-quality implementation of each item on the CEC. If needed, these photographs can help guide developmentally appropriate preschool classroom set-up.
High-Quality Photograph Examples
|Basic Classroom Arrangement||Example A | Example B | Example C|
|Center Management System||Example A | Example B | Example C|
|Variety of Accessible Center Materials||Example A | Example B | Example C|
|Center Material Labels||Example A | Example B | Example C | Example D|
|Books in Centers||Example A | Example B | Example C|
|Writing Tools in Centers||Example A | Example B | Example C|
|Book Availability||Example A | Example B|
|Interactive Read Aloud Supports||Example A | Example B | Example C|
|Shared or Interactive Writing||Example A | Example B | Example C | Example D|
|Writing Journals||Example A | Example B | Example C|
|Alphabet/PA Activities||Example A | Example B | Example C|
|Children’s Names||Example A | Example B | Example C | Example D|
|Letter Wall||Example A | Example B | Example C|
|Authentic Print||Example A | Example B | Example C|
|Children’s Daily Schedule||Example A | Example B | Example C|
|Rules Chart||Example A | Example B|
|Helper Chart||Example A | Example B | Example C|
|Lesson Plan||Example A | Example B | Example C|
|Thematic Connections||Example A | Example B | Example C|
|Assessment Techniques||Example A | Example B | Example C|
|Children’s Work Display||Example A | Example B | Example C|