What is a learning environment and how can you create one for your child at home?
A learning environment is an educational buzzword that teachers up and down the land will know well. Thankfully this isn't a phrase that is concocted out of nothing and exists for the sake of existence. The learning environment for your children is actually incredibly important, and you can create it yourself at home.
In their classrooms teachers consider a wide variety of items and tricks of the trade to get children learning without them even being aware. Subconscious learning is a bit like osmosis, that favourite GCSE biology term. By that I mean that if there is a wealth of learning opportunities surrounding the child they will naturally absorb some of the information surrounding them. Teachers achieve this by creating things like learning walls (displaying recently taught materials), making sure their classrooms are full of exciting resources and providing a wide variety of stimulating activites.
That's all well and good whilst they're at school, but why not magpie some of these techniques and bring them into your home. I'm by no means saying that you should turn their bedroom into a classroom, far from it, kids need their downtime too! I am, however, saying that every little helps... so without further ado:
- Display their own creations - Children gain a huge amount of joy and pride when they can see their own work up on display. Everyone remembers when that picture made it to the fridge. It's easy to put one up and forget about it, but try and keep it fresh! Children are stimulated by praise and simply showing that you enjoy their work and think it's good enough to be displayed encourages them to keep trying.
- It's not just about the walls! - Make use of all of the space available to you. Children, as all parents know, spend a lot of time on the floor... why not get them thinking whilst they're down there? Invest in a learning carpet like these provided by eduKidz, their bright colours and different shapes/letters/numbers provide a great reference point for writing and art activities.
- Get outside! - When I'm teaching I take every opportunity that I can (within reason!) to get outside. It's healthy, it's exciting and also it offers a great opportunity to teach children about the world around them. My favourite activites to teach involved a pile of sticks, leaves and good old mud. You can create pretty much anything with them. Are they studying humans and animals at school? Get them to create stick skeletons! Learning about myths and legends? Build your own labyrinths! Note: Don't forget photos for the fridge and bedrooms!
- Writing, writing, writing - Not all kids take to writing straight away. That's just human nature. But you shouldn't stop providing those opportunities just because they didn't initially show interest. Leave them pencils and crayons and plenty of paper in their different play areas. You never know when they might pick up a pencil and start writing! One of my more reluctant writers came proudly into school one day with a book he'd written all about his favourite pig... Inspiration strikes at anytime!
- Give them a space to create - At school, they have their desks and drawers. At home, things can be a bit more spread out... by providing kids with a functional working/playing/creating space you'll allow them the familiarity that all kids crave. A desk or work table, like these provided by eduKidz, can give them that structure they need to learn.
Hopefully now you'll have a few ideas about creating your own learning environment. If you have any ideas of your own or any comments, please leave them below!
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