Canvas for Elementary: Supporting Young Learners as They Return to the Classroom


In the last year, our teachers, students, and parents have been asked to do things they’ve never done before. This is particularly true for our younger learners, who may not have had the same level of exposure to technology as older students. But elementary teachers and students evolved in ways we couldn’t have imagined, and their new skills and approaches to teaching should serve as a foundation for digital learning in the physical classroom moving forward.

According to a new Gartner Research Study, 90% of US public school districts will leverage a combination of in-person and digital remote learning for regular and ongoing instruction by year-end 2025. Educational technologies like a learning management system (LMS) not only promote digital literacy among even the youngest learners, but they keep students learning, parents engaged, and provide teachers with the tools they need to identify and address learning needs. And whether instruction is happening in a brick-and-mortar building or in an online setting, the earlier these skills can be regularly infused into the learning, the better.

The new Canvas for Elementary setting within Canvas was designed to enhance the digital learning experience for young students, helping to orient the student when logging in, provide focus on what needs to be accomplished, and promote student success. We’ve taken principles that are important to early learners into consideration and have thoughtfully designed a space to help emergent readers be successful in a digital classroom environment.

Read on to see how the Canvas for Elementary setting will improve the experience for little learners, providing them with an equitable digital classroom while keeping parents informed every step of the way.


Homeroom Dashboard

The new visual dashboard creates a digital classroom that more closely reflects the physical classroom experience for elementary students, giving them the confidence to use the online tools in Canvas LMS.

To help ensure that important information is front and center, teachers can add announcements to their homeroom course, which will be added to the top of the students' dashboard for both students and parents to see.

Improved Accessibility & Visual Navigation

Updated fonts make letters and numbers more distinguishable while meeting accessibility guidelines. All tabs include an icon that makes it easier for young readers to navigate with visual cues. Easy-to-access tabs provide overviews of schedules and grades for all subjects.

Personalization & Welcome Features

To make learning more personal for the student, the new homeroom dashboard will welcome the student with their name when they log in. For further personalization, teachers are able to add text and video announcements to help orient their students to priorities for the day or week.

Subject Cards

The Homeroom Dashboard is organized in subjects (instead of courses) to reflect the typical elementary classroom experience where students are in one class, with one teacher, learning multiple subjects each day. Subject cards can easily be renamed and may include valuable information for students, the number of assignments due, any missing assignments, and announcement teasers specific to the subject. Teachers can further customize the subject cards with the option to color code subjects to match students’ physical journals or folders.


Similar to an agenda students would see every day on a whiteboard, the student schedule is an overview of their schedule by day at a glance. Leveraging our current list view, assignments will be added to the schedule based on their due date. If teachers add dates to their pages, they will also be added to the schedule. Missing assignments will be added to the schedule, so students know what they still need to submit.

Comment Library

The new Comment Library saves teachers time by allowing them to choose from common feedback to submitted student work, so students know how they did and how they can improve.

Student Annotations

Teachers can upload a file as a student annotation assignment giving students the ability to annotate the assignment within the LMS.

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