beautiful kid space

Published by Lori Pickert on November 5, 2007 at 03:55 PM

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Mari Eriksson has some beautiful photos on her blog of her home, including some truly inspirational kid spaces.

All posts on this blog that have to do with children's spaces in home or school are tagged "environment". An explanatory quote from The Hundred Languages of Children:

A Space That Teaches

The environment is seen here as educating the child; in fact it is considered as 'the third educator' along with the team of two teachers.

In order to act as an educator for the child, the environment has to be flexible: it must undergo frequent modification by the children and the teachers in order to remain up-to-date and responsive to their needs to be protagonists in constructing their knowledge. All the things that surround the people in the school and that they use — the objects, the materials, and the structures — are seen not as passive elements but on the contrary as elements that condition and are conditioned by the actions of children and adults who are active in it.

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In our school this translated to a classroom that was very open and flexible, with areas that could be transformed according to the children's interests and project work. An open area that had a play kitchen, table, chairs, couch, etc., during one season was transformed into a library for several months, a skating rink, a rocket ship factory.

At home, children need space to build and — I think this is key — room to keep a project out while they are working on it.

Again, we talk about children having short attention spans, but we make them clean up their projects and put them away each evening! How can they do extended work, adding layer upon layer of understanding, if they can't keep an unfinished painting? LEGO structure? block city? cardboard box building?

Children need the opportunity to work on something again and again, until they decide they are finished. One of the things I love about Mari's spaces is that they are so fresh and spacious. Empty space gives ideas room to grow.

 

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6 comments

Comment by Courtney on November 6, 2007 at 07:08 PM

great post, and pictures coming in loud and clear:)

Comment by molly on November 6, 2007 at 08:51 PM

i love this post lori. One of the things that i love about decorating our home with my husband is that he loves to keep things simple. He hates the look of clutter, likes simplicity and open space. And he also believes it's important not to hide the fact that there are children in your home-let there be baskets of blocks and markers and plastic animals...

Such good ideas in this post that I hadn't thought of before--leaving 'in progress' projects out, letting them continue to work until they are finished...

you are always writing about something i need to hear!

Comment by Lori Pickert on November 7, 2007 at 01:15 AM

thank you, courtney, and i'm glad! :^) thanks again for alerting me that there was a problem in the first place.

molly, of course your husband likes things clean and simple. ;^) i love the clean and simple look, but i also naturally accrue clutter. i'm like Pigpen, but with books, magazines, half-finished craft projects, and mugs. but that just makes me more interesting, right? ;^)

i agree about not trying to hide the presence of children. after all, they grow up so fast. why not enjoy it while it lasts?

thank you for your encouraging words about this post!

Comment by Andrea on August 25, 2010 at 05:25 AM

This idea is (of course) wonderful and ideal! However, as I prepare to homeschool my child for the first time this year, I have to ask the question...how can I make ample space for materials, art projects and special "kid" spaces? Any ideas? The reason I ask is that I have a super small home...its literally only 640 square feet...I try to be creative but I feel that I need more ideas! =)

Comment by Lori Pickert on September 13, 2010 at 03:57 PM

hi andrea :)

my first thought would be to double up and turn an existing spot into a shared kid space. there's no reason why you can't hang bulletin boards and shelves in a living or dining area and then toggle back and forth between the two uses. art supplies can be stored in baskets or boxes or etc. when not in use.

if you need more storage space, try to use all the "under" space .. lift the beds up to fit more under there and slide things under the couch.

i think the important thing with a small space is to make sure you children understand that they have *permission* to own the space during their part of the day .. that they're allowed to play and make art and cut paper and etc. it's perfectly reasonable for them to be responsible for picking up and storing things away at the end of the day .. but i would make space (bulletin board, shelves...) for keeping their work on display, both to honor it and to remind them of what they're working on.

does this help at all? this would be a great open thread topic; i might repeat it there this weekend to get some other suggestions!

Comment by Andrea on September 14, 2010 at 05:55 PM

Lori,
Yes this is helpful...thank you. I feel that we are doing a pretty good job with our space so far and as always its a work in progress. The only thing is that I would like kind of a well lit space for the art area. Hmm...maybe when I get my closet of a laundry room cleaned out. =)

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