Rethinking Classroom Containers

Presented by: Dr. Sandra Duncan, Adjunct Professor, Nova Southeastern University
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Containers are essential components to any early childhood classroom. Available in many sizes, shapes, and colors, containers are used to store, hold, and tote a variety of learning materials and supplies. They are so commonplace in our classroom environments that rarely a second thought is given to them, especially after being placed on the shelf. Think about your classroom for a moment and consider all the containers in your space. Most likely, your thoughts immediately focused on the bins and baskets positioned on the classroom’s shelves and tabletops. Containers, however, are much more than bins and baskets.

In this webinar, Dr. Sandra Duncan demonstrated why the primary job of containers in the classroom is not to hold learning materials and objects but to spark children’s interest and engagement with the containers’ contents. She walked through the 4 C’s of container selection in detail:

  • Select containers that CAPTURE children’s attention
  • Select containers that are CONVENIENT
  • Select containers that CONNECT children to the activities
  • Use CHILD-CREATED containers in the early childhood classroom

Sandra also discussed the disadvantages of using plastic containers, measuring the amount of plastic used, and how to make a plan for reducing the number of plastic baskets in each learner’s classroom. Finally, she provided ideas for alternative types of containers that can be easily used in the classroom regardless of the age group taught.