Set your student up for success by creating a learning space that excites your child and helps them dive into learning each day.
Waldorf classrooms are designed specifically to accommodate student development and welcome learning. While classrooms emanate warmth and are designed specifically for children we know an exact classroom replication isn’t a possibility for many parents engaged in distance learning.
However, there are ways to create a space that will inspire your child to be creative and stir up excitement for projects each day.
This is a learning experience for everyone and it may take time to figure it out for your family, said Pat Whitehead, Executive Director of the Waldorf School of Baltimore. “You have to work with what you have and it’s not going to be perfect right away,” she said. “We’re all working through this day by day and it’s O.K. to have some trial and error.”
Check out these four things to consider as you make adjustments in your home to compliment a learning routine.
Be sure not to create clutter.
Set your child up for success by providing all the tools they’ll need for learning but make sure their space has places to put things away at the end of the day. Having a clean workspace each morning allows your child to start fresh each day. Artwork matters too. Finding a place within sight to hang up a single piece of artwork that your child is particularly proud of can help inspire more creativity and excitement around completing projects. Cluttering the area with too many bright colors and several visual elements can cause overstimulation or distractions.
Allow your child to have input.
At times the uncertainty may have your child feel like things are out of control. Giving them input on decorating their learning spaces can help empower them during a stressful time. This also may give children an opportunity to work through identifying their own needs when it comes to asking for support, said school counselor Christa Marvenko-Athas. “Some children may find this as a platform for thoughts and feelings to come to the surface to be addressed; asking what one needs in terms of support with trying to do something that is ‘normal’ during not-so-normal times can open up a greater discussion and identify more thoughts, feelings, and needs,” she said.
Be intentional about location.
Heather W. has two children at the Waldorf School of Baltimore and had to consider how to accommodate each of them in their own ways. Her younger child, in first grade, needed a space that was close to her workspace so she could support him by offering guidance through his assignments. Her older child, in eighth grade, first was nearby but soon set up shop in her room away from her brother. “That move was the best decision for her,” Heather said. “She was able to focus more with less distractions. Of course we pop in on her and she does the same with us.” Being able to make adjustments when something isn’t working is a great way to encourage children to be flexible and adapt to change. It also allows parents to help their children work through advocating for themselves in asking for support.
Let there be light.
Our school doesn’t skimp on natural light in our classrooms. Consider setting up your child’s workspace near a window to allow them to soak up some sunshine (when available!). If a window space isn’t practical for your home, make sure the lighting where your child is learning is functional. Scarce amounts of light can make a child sleepy and strain their eyes. Test out different lighting by combining lamps and overhead lights until you find something that feels right. And if you’re unable to set up with natural light, be sure to give your child enough time outdoors to soak in some sunshine.
Do you have a tip for creating inspirational space for your student? Head to our Facebook Page @WaldorfSchoolofBaltimore and leave a comment on this post.