ROOM TO GROW: BACK TO SCHOOL
By Rachel Marsh
Now’s the time to take advantage of all the new-found enthusiasm that a new school year brings. Work together with your kids to make sure they are set up to maximise their learning potential with both practical and comfortable working environments.
After her first week in school, my daughter announced that she wouldn’t be learning anything until Year 1. She was having way too much fun playing in Prep! Young children learn best through play – they need room to spread out and let their imaginations run wild. Keep living areas spacious so kids can roll around on the floor, then provide a more structured learning area with an age appropriate table and chairs, as a flexible activity centre. Locate some handy shelving or a tall cupboard adjacent to this space to store away materials when they’re not being used.
“Young kids don’t need a designated study space. A nook in the kitchen area, where you can supervise their homework while preparing the meals, is a great option. Use a spare kitchen cupboard to house school information folders (one per child!). Stick timetables inside the door. Pegs for school and sports bags can be located either in a hallway, or even better in a laundry.”
Have a cosy and quiet reading chair or “nook” where young kids can crawl into with a handful of books. Position it near a window for good lighting. This could just be an upholstered bench to lie on with a few scatter cushions, or even a coveted hanging chair – kids LOVE them.
As kids grow and their homework time increases, they’ll need to spend more time at their desks. Here’s how you can help them stay there!
- Provide an environment conducive to concentration – either in their own bedroom, or another quiet place such as a rarely used dining room.
- Position desks next to windows (ideally at a 90-degree angle) to minimise reflection on computer screens. Natural light is important!
- Choose an ergonomic desk chair option with adjustable height that can swivel. This supports the lower back and promotes good posture.
- Use a pinboard hanging over the desk for kids to pin pictures, reminders, timetables and inspirational quotes!
- Organisation and a mess free working area is key. Ensure you have adequate shelving, either freestanding or as part of the desk if space is tight. Encourage your kids to be organised with labelled baskets and boxes which can be placed alongside folders and books.
- Use a directional desk light to prevent eye strain. HK Living have a floor light version!
- Provide plenty of safe powerpoint access for laptops, printers, desk lamp etc.
Finally, let your kids personalise their space. Their taste may not always match your own, but Buzz Lightyear Purple and Green is just a phase…. promise!
I’d love to hear what you think of Room to Grow. Let me know what you would like to see and what advice you are looking for. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and your question might even be included in the next issue of Kiddo.
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