Monday, January 9, 2012

Living and Learning Spaces for Children


With the new year here, and the (slightly) colder weather outside I’ve been organizing all the places and spaces in my home that have been neglected over the last few months.  As I’ve moved things and re-arranged them, I’ve been rethinking how my home supports my kids’ in their daily life and how their environment promotes learning.  I am a strong believer that children’s environments can serve as a teacher, and how we manage and arrange our homes sends strong messages to kids about our values.   In my home, kids outnumber adults, and much of the day is spent in child focused activities, so why should the majority of home be centered around adults?  Of course there are ‘adult activities’ that need to be done, but so often there are little hands working right along beside me.  I don’t propose giving up the adult spaces in the house, but rather thinking about how the kids space can fit together with our own.  How empowering as a child to feel that your activities are valued right beside the adults!

Lately I’ve noticed that the ‘playroom’ in our house is rarely the actual room where the kids play.  They are almost always found in the room where I am and it seems like they sense that their play isn’t all that important since it is hidden in the back room.  I recently read the book Playful Learning which has a wonderful section on creating learning spaces for children.  With this book, some blogs and websites, and some ideas that have been mixing around in my mind, I’ve been redesigning corners of our home to promote living and learning for the kids.  While I don’t align myself with any specific teaching philosophy, I see the benefits of the simple structure of Montessori the natural aspect Waldorf and the beauty found in Reggio Emilia schools.
With this in mind, I’ve decided to explore the way we set up living and learning spaces for children in our homes by highlighting a different space each Monday here on the blog.  To help support this, I welcome and encourage people to link up their own spaces they’ve created for children.  You can do this on a linky list, in the comments, on the flickr group (Living and Learning Spaces for Children). You can also follow me on Pinterest where I will share some of my favorite spaces that I stumble across.  

Throughout my posts, I hope to explore some of the following issues/themes:

  • How do we create living and learning spaces for children of different ages?  More specifically, how do you keep art supplies available to 3 year olds while keeping them out of the hands of a crawler?
  • How do you repurpose what you already have to create new spaces?
  • Where do you place learning spaces in the home to show children the importance of their work and play?
  • How do you create living and learning spaces that encourage independence and self-directed learning?  How do living and learning spaces promote creativity?
  • How do you balance adult and children spaces?
I'm really excited about this little project and hope that by blogging about it, I can keep myself (and our house) organized, always an ongoing challenge.  Next week I'm planning on starting with exploring art spaces, please check in and share your own photos of your childrens' living and learning spaces.

I'm sharing here: 
Hip Homeschool Hop ButtonPhotobucket

5 comments:

  1. This is great!!! Such a wonderful post! Thank you for all of the great ideas and suggestions ( and fun links)! Looking forward to your posts on this topic:)))

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  2. I was just thinking that our schoolroom could use some re-doing. :) I like the photo you have of the puzzle area. Right now, I need to find a good way to organize Legos & teeny-tiny toys. Thanks for sharing! (I stopped by from the HHH).

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  3. I find the same thing going on here, my preschooler only want to play near me. I struggle with having spaces in a small space! I look forward to reading and seeing more of what you do!

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  4. I love the little desk! How cute and functional! Thanks for linking up to Make Yourself Monday and adding my button!

    Jamie
    For Love of Cupcakes.com

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