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Identifying Classroom Stressors Checklist

For anxiety to be prevented or reduced, children must feel safe, cared for and be able to understand what is expected of them. Their environment must be welcoming, inclusive and predictable.

The classroom environment can unwittingly add to stress and anxiety in children. This can be prevented or reduced by making some simple modifications. Adjusting your expectations of the children or rearranging your room can make a big difference in reducing and preventing anxiety.

Use the checklist below to evaluate your classroom environment, then follow the suggestions. This will start you on your way to ensuring your classroom is well organized and contributes to reducing anxiety in children.

  1. Is there time for each child to receive some individual attention on a daily basis?
    __ Always __ Sometimes __ Never

  3. Does each child receive the amount of attention they require?
    __ Always __ Sometimes __ Never

  5. Does the program ensure all children are included?
    __ Always __ Sometimes __ Never

  7. Do my classroom goals support the individual learning styles and interests of all children?
    __ Always __ Sometimes __ Never

  9. Is there a consistent routine to the day?
    __ Always __ Sometimes __ Never

  11. Is a visual schedule used so that all children can understand and anticipate the daily routine?
    __ Always __ Sometimes __ Never

  13. Does the daily routine include time and space for movement and gross motor activities?
    __ Always __ Sometimes __ Never

  15. Does the daily routine include time and space for quiet activities and “down time”?
    __ Always __ Sometimes __ Never

  17. Is the room arranged to have louder play areas close to each other and away from quieter areas?
    __ Always __ Sometimes __ Never

  19. Are the classroom materials age and developmentally appropriate for all children?
    __ Always __ Sometimes __ Never

  21. Are the toys and materials organized and kept in their correct containers?
    __ Always __ Sometimes __ Never

  23. Are the containers labeled with pictures to ensure that all children know where materials belong?
    __ Always __ Sometimes __ Never

  25. Is natural light utilized when possible?
    __ Always __ Sometimes __ Never

  27. Are overly bright or harsh lights avoided?
    __ Always __ Sometimes __ Never

  29. Are there times in the day when lighting is dimmed?
    __ Always __ Sometimes __ Never

  31. Are noise levels at a tolerable level?
    __ Always __ Sometimes __ Never

  33. Is excess noise limited? (e.g., loud clocks or constant background music)
    __ Always __ Sometimes __ Never

  35. Are there times of the day when noise levels are reduced?
    __ Always __ Sometimes __ Never

  37. Do all caregivers maintain regular speaking levels and tones when addressing the children?
    __ Always __ Sometimes __ Never

  39. Are there quiet, private areas in the room for “down time”? (e.g., book area with pillows or tent)
    __ Always __ Sometimes __ Never

  41. Are strong smelling disinfectants, deodorizers and perfumes avoided?
    __ Always __ Sometimes __ Never

If you answer “sometimes” or “never” to questions 1-4: Refer to Caregiver Behaviour and Expectations, for tips and ideas to reduce stressors in your classroom.

If you answered “sometimes” or” never” to questions 5-12: Refer to Organizing the Environment for tips and ideas to reduce stressors in your classroom.

If you answered “sometimes” or “never” to questions 13-21: Refer to Keep Sensory Stimulation at Moderate Levels for tips and ideas to reduce stressors in your classroom.

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