Though there are many small things we can do to make our classrooms feel warm and welcoming-such as playing soothing music, choosing pastel paints for the easel, and putting a rocking chair, carpet, and cushions in the book nook-the teacher is the factor that most directly affects the climate of the classroom. Ask yourself the following questions to help you assess your own comfort level and the comfort of other staff members, children, and families in your program:

  • How comfortable do you feel in your classroom?
  • Do your supervisors and colleagues respect you? How can you tell?
  • Do you all get along? What examples can you think of?
  • Have you and the parents established good communication? What indications do you have of this?
  • Are there signs of appreciation and rewards for good work? What have you done recently for other staff members? What have they done for you?
  • Have you provided for your own creature comforts, such as keeping comfy shoes at school when you need a change or a favorite snack stowed away somewhere? Is there a staff relaxation room?