Are your kids staying home for school this year?

This year is turning out to be one of the strangest ever for all of us, but even more so for those of you with school age kiddos. It is tough keeping kids focused and used to this ‘new norm’!
With that said, many are being faced with the possibility of sending our kids back to school or keeping them at home for online learning. Aside from the personal choice you make for your children, the other struggle is if you keep the kids at home how do you create an environment for long term use that promotes learning. There are many options and we would like to share a few with you. 

Finding a ‘learning space’.

One of the first things you need to do is to find and create a space that can be set aside strictly for your child’s learning needs. Unfortunately, this may be a long term environment for your child and the sofa or dining table does not constitute a proper learning space. 

Do you have formal and informal spaces in your home…where the formal rarely gets used?  If so, maybe it is time to make the formal, functional and useful.  Maybe you have a large family room that you can be divided or sectioned off. How about a spare bedroom, usable space in the basement, a loft, or even a large closet that can be reinvented. If your child was previously attending traditional school classroom settings, it has been ingrained in them to have that space that is set aside for learning purposes. If you are able to create a similar atmosphere some where in the home, it will only assist them in this new transition.

Above is our latest design for a family with multiple children who will be distance learning at home this coming year.  We were able to create this design in their existing walkout basement.  If you need a rendering and assistance with furnishing this new space…give us a call.

Colors can make or break a space!

In last weeks newsletter, we hit on colors concerning office spaces…well we want to discuss this again because the colors in your child’s new learning space can be extremely important. Colors can maximize information retention, stimulate participation, and boost active learning. The key though here is to avoid over stimulation. Bright primary colors are typical known for early learning environments, but studies have shown that they are effective in all ages when done in the proper doses. Here are five colors to consider.

  1. Red – energizing: If your kiddo has a tough time getting up in the morning, this is a good color to accessorize with. This color is also indicative of promoting creativity. We wouldn’t recommend lot’s of red though as it can also promote hunger and anxiousness as well…so small doses are best. A good example is in artwork, a painted chair, or tote boxes that hold school supplies.
  2. Yellow – attention grabber: When you struggle to grab and keep your child’s attention, yellow may not be your fave but it does work best for learning environments. Yellow also evokes positive energy and creativity. You can paint cork boards to display study materials, add a yellow upholstered bean bag chair, or use a yellow fabric for drapery to assist with the much needed alertness.
  3. Orange – mood lifting: Orange promotes critical thinking and memory. According to the Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences Education, this color has shown that it “has an especially high effect on circulation and the nervous system and increases the oxygen supply to the brain, stimulating mental activity while simultaneously loosening inhibitions.”  Make sure to have ample snacks though as this is another color that has been known to increase ones appetite!  Read more at: http://www.natefacs.org/Pages/v29no1/v29no1Gaines.pdf
  4. Green – calming concentration driver: Green evokes a calmness and a sense of relaxation. The other great aspect is that it encourages long-term concentration with a feeling of ease. Using this color in larger doses is just fine to do for example in furniture, area rugs, or a room divider that may be the backdrop behind the desk. If you have a child that tends to have hyper tendencies, this may be a great color to incorporate into the space.
  5. Blue – productivity enhancer: With so many tones of blue, this color pairs well with most others.  It has also been known to have a calming effect as it encourages a sense of well-being. With that said, blues can be ideal for home learning spaces that are cognitively taxing. Research suggests that people with highly intellectual work that requires a high cognitive load are most productive in blue environments, so for the teen that is preparing for college this may be the perfect color. This would also be a color conducive of larger doses and would be great if you have a painted table desk or work top for your child. 

Setting the mood for the proper environment.

Provide a comfortable space by offering one that is not too hot, not too cold, and has a few different options for seating. A typical desk chair or office chair that is easy to move around along with another soft seating area, for example a beanbag chair, yoga ball, or large pillows.  It is okay to allow for a comfy spot to take a break for a bit and allow for them to recharge.  An area that has a window for natural light and can allow for fresh air is ideal.  If this is not an option, having a fan available and ample artificial lighting that is comfortable for the child will be a necessity. Lastly, have a space for supplies…it can be in a closet, a bookshelf, and/or stack-able totes to allow for organization and to keep the space clutter free. A clean space is optimal for easy learning.

Again, these are just a few tips and there are so many more.  If you feel you need more assistance, give us a call so we can help you create that great optimal space!