Design an active learning classroom for children with developmental delay

active learning classroom ideas classroom activity ideas design an active classroom

How to design an active learning classroom for children with developmental delay

When most of us went to school many years ago, we were often told to sit still, be quiet, listen to our teacher, and take notes from the blackboard.


Back in the day, it was assumed that a quiet classroom, with chairs laid out all in a row, was a sign of quality education and strong learning outcomes. However, when I see children with developmental delay sitting in these learning environments, they may be struggling to sit still in their chair, find it very difficult to not call out or distract their neighbour, and may need more than one type of learning instruction to be able to understand and apply their new content.


20 years ago, our education systems may not have been aware of how our brain learns through movement and play, or teachers may not have had access yet, to the research about the many benefits of flexible seating and outdoor exploration.


What we see now in classrooms are tables set up with play-based learning activities, cushions and play mats on the floor to encourage children to learn in various positions, and interaction smart boards to engage children who may have traditionally been disengaged in a clinical style classroom.

active learning classroom activity ideas

My reasoning for wanting to encourage more active learning classrooms is because:

  • The brain is fueled by oxygen, and movement increases the amount of oxygen that is sent to the brain
  • An active body and brain helps the children to reach their optimal attention and focus level
  • Moving the body quickly for more than 2 minutes at a time, increases the use of glucose in our body - preventing health conditions long-term such as diabetes and heart disease


My 5 ways for creating an active learning classroom include:

  1. Start the day with one of our morning routines - click the image below

  2. Encourage all children to complete our gross motor activity mat to improve their core strength, crossing the midline, and spatial awareness skills

  3. Create a corner in your classroom where there are flashcards or math equations to throw a scrunched up piece of paper at

    active learning classroom activities

  4. Play one of our brain break videos to re-engage children who have developmental delay - click the image below

  5. Provide children with additional time on the playground - even if it is just 5 minutes per day. We all feel better after taking time out to play.


For more free tips and classroom ideas, come and say hi on my Facebook page - 


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