Creating an Environment for Learning in the Home

I need a clear, clean, and open space to work. As adults we all have obligations that we must attend to on the home front. Paying bills, returning emails, sending a card, etc. all tasks that are among those we do. Often, I move from my desk to the kitchen table. Why? Because my desk, piled high with papers is a visual reminder of lots of unfinished business. I need a physical place that is free of paper chaos, and inviting for my pen and paper. 

The above is no different for the young child. We can all be distracted by too much noise, too many objects, things, etc.   So, how do we master this “perfect space” for learning for our child. Return to the bare bones of a cleared surface.   A small table in the corner, an end to the kitchen table, or an unused dining room table. Does not matter where in the house, but rather a designated area that “invites” learning. Just find a place, and set aside this space, designated, and inviting for learning.

Ready to Write: Provide small baskets for pencils, crayons, washable markers, etc. Another basket for paper, cardstock, etc. Perhaps a third basket for glue, stickers, scissors, etc. This can be the “special place” for your young child to work. Keep it fun, and avoid pressuring your child to use these materials. The secret is to encourage, and keep the items fresh, and inviting.

Ready to Read: Make it cozy with a large pillow, and blanket…add a basket of interesting and colorful books, and perhaps accessibility to soft music, and the reading begins!

Ready for Math: The most logical place in the home for this skill is the kitchen! Measuring cups and spoons, small stacking bowls, etc. can be kept in a low drawer or cabinet, readily available for the little chef! Pots and pans provide “sounds” and instantly a Kitchen Band develops!

There are many learning opportunities available in today’s home. Consider presenting them in new and different ways to attract renewed interest from your child. Allow your child to help set up an area that is exclusively theirs. The element of surprise is important too. Surprise the young child with colorful lids and tops to count, or different sized boxes for building, etc. Fabric with differing textures, yarn, rickrack trims, buttons, etc. are all very interesting to the young child. The possibilities are endless!

Julia Distelhurst HPMT, L/MT-BC