What makes a great education and care space?
By Jessica Watts
1 May 2019
We understand that for families living in major cities, space is sometimes a premium. But did you know that we deliver in home education and care in a variety of spaces? From two bedroom apartments in the middle of the city, to townhouses in an outer suburb, or farms on regional and remote properties. Whatever your space we our Educators can turn it into an effective space for your child’s learning to thrive.
Indoor play space
An indoor play space is vital to provision of high quality education and care services, however this doesn’t have to be a large separate play room. It could be a lounge room with carpeted floors that could be used for floor activities, reading stories and engaging in music and movement opportunities, or it could be a kitchen for exploring measurement while baking, or a dining room with a child sized table for art and messy play experiences. All these every day spaces can provide various opportunities for learning to occur.
A high-quality learning space is responsive to children’s changing needs, interests and abilities. When children are able to use their imagination to collaborate with others, changing their space to meet their needs increases not only their engagement but also their sense of belonging within the educational program.
Flexible areas allow a space that was just minutes earlier set up with a table for sensory play and play dough to then be covered in soft blankets and pillows for a cozy reading space to explore books. This flexibility is useful for transforming a small play space to meet the individual needs of each child throughout the day.
Stimulating resources and materials
Materials enhance learning when they reflect on what is natural and familiar. Many everyday items from around the home can be used; for instance, children can explore size through stacking pots. Children enjoy using what is familiar to them and using adult tools and resources, which enhances their sense of agency. Natural materials collected by children are also a valuable tool in learning as they stimulate children’s creativity and imagination as they can be used in many ways. Natural materials also have a sensory benefit as they have different texture, shape, size, colour and even smell.
When children are introduced to resources brought in by our Educators, or through toy rotation, this provides novelty that provokes children’s interests. Alongside the other familiar and natural material items, this creates an opportunity for complex and abstract thinking. Rotated toys targeted at your child’s interests reduces boredom and leads to greater and deeper engagement in their play.
Outdoor play space
Having space and time to engage in play and learning is also essential to an effective education and care space. If you do not have a backyard or suitable outdoor space at your house, a nearby park or reserve could make a great area to explore the outdoors.
Play in an outdoor, natural environment allows children to explore their world as well as their minds. Nature engages all senses and allows creativity and curiosity to be developed in a way that cannot be replicated within a classroom. Playing outdoors also encourages active play as children develop their gross motor skills as they run, jump, hop, skip, swing and climb their way around. Outdoor play spaces don’t need to be set up with perfect playground equipment, any space in which children can be with nature, observe the changing of the seasons, have space to run, and have the flexibility to use their imagination to change the environment is perfect.
In Home Early Learning provides education and care in an environment that is familiar and safe to children. Leor In Home Early Learning ensures that home based learning environments are dynamic, are individualised to meet the learning needs of each child, and are returned to their original format at the end of each session. Any home environment can be an effective care and learning space when provided in conjunction with responsive and flexible adults. Contact us now to find out if your home can provide your child with their next learning adventure.
Jessica Watts is a Leor Early Childhood Teacher based in Melbourne.