The Influence of the Physical Environment on Early Childhood Education Classroom Management

Ikbal Tuba Şahin, Feyza Tantekin Erden, and Hanife Akar
*Res. Asst., Zonguldak Karaelmas University, Faculty of Education, Turkey
**Asst. Prof. Dr., Middle East Technical University, Faculty of Education, Turkey
***Asst. Prof. Dr., Middle East Technical University, Faculty of Education, Turkey

Problem Statement: The physical environment of the classroom has an impact on various components of the teaching and learning processes. Recently, there has been research into the relationship between classroom management and the physical environment in elementary schools. However, the focus of these studies was only on one dimension of the physical environment of the classroom such as the relationship between class size or the physical environment and academic achievement. Therefore, there is a need for research into how early childhood teachers perceive the impact of the physical environment on classroom management.
Findings: Content analysis was performed at the end of the study. The themes that emerged from the findings were categorized as follows: (1) factors influencing classroom management, (2) physical characteristics of classrooms, (3) strengths and weaknesses of the physical environment, (4) remedies for the weaknesses of the environment, and (5) suggestions for improving the physical environment. 
Conclusions and Recommendations: A combination of semi-structured interviews and observations of classroom practice can create a wider picture of the teachers’ perceptions. In addition, since the physical environment is important in both primary and secondary education, the same study could be applied to teachers working at other grade levels to examine their beliefs concerning the relationship between the physical environment and classroom management. 
Keywords: Teacher perceptions, classroom management, preschool physical environment, content analysis.