Consider your home as a source of learning for children who are under quarantine
The pandemic has resulted in fundamental changes, families have to stay at home and children have limited space for adventures and exploration. Many children have to face new changes in their learning and playing routines. The only space that parents can consider a safe learning environment is their homes. Utilizing the living area, furniture and all the practical elements at home could be used as tools in educating children. Having an overview of the importance of the home environment and how it can be used in education during quarantine could benefit parents, providing more learning opportunities for their children.
Design the home environment as a third teacher.
The common ground of all the various types of learning activities for children and young people is the use of buildings, places and spaces as a context for learning. Now we need to consider that traditional education environments like schools are not the only place where learning happens.
Design approacheswithin the creativity territory consider how the physical attributes of educational spaces become a resource for curiosity, discovery, experimentation and creativity. This idea was shaped The Third Teacher Movement which considers three teachers for children’s learning: adults, peers and physical environment. The embodiment of this idea can be found in the work of the Reggio Emilia schools in Italy.
Their approach to early education considers five features:
• an interpretation of teachers as researchers,
• a curriculum as long term projects,
• the role of symbolic languages in child development and advocacy,
• interpretation of parents as partners in the education,
• and the role of the environment in the classroom and hallways
For example: holes in walls invite children to peek through and find their friends. Dress-up clothes are housed in a central space so children from different classrooms can assist with buttons and zippers and play together.
A similar situation arises when children are in gardens and houses or in a bakery with their parents. They are in direct contact with nature, society and they show and develop their physical and social skills.
This kind of program and perspective about education identifies that learning also happens outside of formal training programs and spaces.
Elementary School inspired by Reggio Emilia Philosophy, Miami
How to prepare the best place for learning at home during the quarantine?
It is a great chance to think about children’s learning at home now. How we can set up more and better opportunities for children at home?
Every single corner could afford a variety of learning possibilities for children. Children observe and transform elements and spaces, like a table in a room or a niche in the urban area, into a playful opportunity.
Let them observe your home, let them change something, be open for experiments, discuss your daily activities and foster your children’s motivation to see and use the home environment as a learning context.
Each piece of furniture and space could take a role. Children can interpret the space, and apply their imagination creatively.
Use a furniture for different functions, a table could be like a chair, a tent or a garden for keeping fruits and flowers.
A learning space with a pillow and cushions
Basic suggestions to prepare your best learning place at home:
• Use available facilities at home.
• Relocate furniture; make more free space.
• Ask children for participation and encourage them.
• Quiz them on their homework in different corners of your home, even behind a sofa or under a table. If the lesson is about vegetables, the conversation could be in the kitchen.
• Getting the usage of vertical and horizontal surfaces; walls, the ground, and ceilings for attaching or detaching elements or toys, writing, drawing or doing homework, etc.
• Build simple structures; use card boxes, curtains, plastic bottles, pillows, etc.
• Provide the possibility of gardening even in a small flower pot.
• Put a name on each space; the living room could be named as a city center; the kitchen could be named as a fruit garden, etc.
An exploration in house for finding homework and answers!
There is no doubt that the number of learning possibilities in each home would be different: Family culture, educational system, and a variety of social and spatial facts are different.
One of the crucial issue in educating children at home in this recent crisis is to increasing our knowledge of the potential of the environment for education. Families have the chance to create more adventure and learning opportunities for their children at home.