As the start of a fresh new school year approaches, I find myself turning my attention to our surroundings. Our living spaces. Of course there are a lot of choices to be made concerning planning and curriculum, but I know that the spaces in our home have the potential to make or break our school year. When our rooms and surfaces are cluttered we feel the chaos and learning doesn’t come as smoothly or naturally. On the other hand, if we have inviting and organized spaces, the spaces themselves help facilitate learning.
It is always a great time to reevaluate your learning spaces, but there’s something about the clean slate a new school year offers that just cannot be ignored. My home is small, and like so many others, I often have a hard time creating inviting spaces because of the lack of storage and the abundance of belongings. Even though my home is small, the task of reorganizing can feel monumental. But it doesn’t have to be! I’ve started small and slowly tackled one small area at a time. In this post sponsored by The Playful Learning Ecademy, I’ll be sharing one of the transformations along with a few tips and some information on how you can learn more about creating Playful Learning Spaces of your own.
One of my goals for this school year is to help my son blossom into a confident writer. To help him on his journey, I knew I wanted a space that promoted the desire to write along with a sense of independence and creativity. This writing station does just that. The space is small, and although the change is not totally radical in itself, has produced some pretty great changes.
Before, this space on top of R’s art cabinet wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t very inviting either. The green containers housed some crayons, note cards, and other odds and ends. The mailbox, although once loved, had not been touched in some time. And a large amount of the space was used to store our big roll of craft paper, even though R could not manage and handle this sized roll on his own.
Now this space is functional and inviting. I used an unloved desk organizer from another part of the house to organize note cards, list paper, cards and envelopes, Post-It notes, and scrap paper. I also filled a cup with large triangular colored pencils to sneakily promote proper pencil grip.
But the biggest change came from the bulletin board. I attached pictures of the people R loves the most with their names added directly to the picture. Now when he wants to write to one of them, all he needs to do is visit his board to copy the spelling. I also added an example of letter format, envelope format, stamps, and an alphabet handwriting worksheet so that he may check letter formation whenever needed. I moved full sheets of paper and all other supplies into the cabinet where they are organized, accessible, and out of the way.
When R first noticed the new writing center, he exclaimed, “Oh my goodness! This makes me happy, and it makes me want to learn and write and go places with everyone I love.” It makes me happy too. And now that mailbox is getting a lot more love and use.
More Playful Learning Spaces
The Playful Learning Spaces eCourse has been an invaluable resource for me as I cut through the clutter and create displays that will inspire. This eCourse shares the importance of creating the right environment and gives lots of tips to help you put together inviting playful learning spaces of your own. You’ll learn about ways to:
- Encourage young writers
- Nurture budding readers
- Encourage artistic explorations
- Develop a love of science
- Make the most of the corners and small spaces in your home or classroom
The Playful Learning Spaces eCourse includes six wonderful videos, links to even more resources and further reading, printables, and access to a community of others that are also taking the course. In the community, you can ask questions, share ideas, and receive input on the ideas you’ve implemented.
What are some of the ways you create playful learning spaces in your home or classroom? Please share your tips!
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