This post is part of our Happy Learning Spaces series where I invited some amazing people to show us around their inviting and inspiring home learning spaces. With some inspiration and creativity, any corner of your home, large or small can be transformed into a perfect home learning space for your children. I’ll let these friends show you how!
I am so delighted to welcome my first guest blogger Betty from CHALK Academy. She shares many easy and creative activities to make learning Chinese fun for her children. Now, I just wish I live right beside her so that I can send my kids to her place for fun Chinese classes in her beautiful home classroom. Introducing Betty!
1) Hi there! Tell us about yourself and your kid(s).
Hello! I’m Betty, a work-at-home mom of a 4-year-old daughter and 17-month-old son. I am a pediatrician who writes professionally for an online medical education company. In addition, I am the creator of CHALK Academy, a website focused on DIY, hands-on Chinese activities and learning resources.
Currently, my daughter attends preschool 3 half-days per week, but otherwise, our schedule is fairly flexible. I am having fun teaching her Chinese and math at home, and my son likes to tag along with his big sister!
My approach to teaching is inspired by Dr. Maria Montessori. In my home, I try to create a prepared environment that encourages independence and self-motivation for learning.
2) Show us around your home learning space.
I am so honored to share our children’s learning space with you! The kid’s play area is small nook behind the living room. In this area we have:
- Shelves with books, DIY learning materials, open-ended toys, and Montessori manipulatives
- Foam play mat
- CD player
- Art supplies
- Small table and chair
Generally, everything here is safe and appropriate for both kids. Learning materials with small parts are safely stored out-of-reach from my son.
3) What do the kids love most about their learning space?
The kids love being able to use the materials that they want independently. Currently, their favorite toys are the Schleich animals and the Grimms rainbow. As for learning materials, the kids enjoy the surprise of new DIY materials! My daughter favorites are our printable pretend clothing and also pretend food.
4) What makes a good learning space?
I think that the ideal learning space is dynamic and adapts to the child’s developmental level. The key features are:
- Accessibility: Materials are reachable and usable by a child. For example, art supplies are in a basket rather than in a closed, difficult-to-open bin.
- Visibility: Books and toys are at eye-level. For examples, books and toys are on the floor for babies and low shelves for toddlers. In addition, the shelves should not be crowded so that children can see what’s available!
- Organization: It’s important that children know where to find things and return them. This makes everybody’s life easier!
5) What are some of your must-haves in your learning space?
The 3 must-haves in our learning space are baskets, shelves, and easel!
The baskets and shelves are what keeps the play area accessible, visible, and organized in our home! Since we are a trilingual household, I have organized books by language in soft rope baskets for my son. I also have designated baskets for blocks and DIY learning materials.
In addition, the shelves are necessary for compartmentalizing everything and staying organized! Certain items, such as the Montessori beads and sensorial materials, are always on our shelves. However, every few weeks, we rotate books and DIY learning materials.
Lastly, our easel is used daily for learning and drawing. I usually start the day with a message on the board, and we do lots of reading, writing, math, and drawing practice with it. The best thing is that the kids can choose to sit or stand while they use the easel; therefore, they can move about freely as they wish!
6) Any tips to other parents who like to set up a home learning space for their children too?
My biggest tip is to simplify! I really believe that “less is more.” Over the past few years, we accumulated so many toys from generous friends, but we had no place to put them. I saw first hand that the kids were frustrated with toys that were in the way or not at their level. Therefore, we donated several boxes of toys, and the kids did not even seem to notice that they were gone!
I saw firsthand that having limited options in the play area allowed my kids to be more efficient and creative with what’s on hand. An uncluttered room also makes it easier to find things and gives children more time and space to learn, play, and create!
7) Where can we see more of your learning spaces? Where can we connect with you?
You’re welcome to visit my website, CHALK Academy, for a closer look at our home learning environment! You can also see our learning space in action on Instagram @chalkacademy (#chalkacademy_home)! On Facebook, I share my latest posts as well as articles from favorite websites about childhood education, homeschool organization, and Chinese learning resources.
Thank you Betty for showing us around your beautiful home learning space. Do you have an inspiring home learning space too? Post a photo of your space with the hashtag #htshappylearningspaces on Instagram and tag me @happytotshelf for a chance to be featured here!
Check out more inspiring home learning spaces in our Happy Learning Spaces series here.