Dear Woodsview Parents,
In addition to the helpful suggestions for creating “school space” that are listed on the Sparhawk website here, we would like to offer some suggestions specifically for children ages 3-6. Our overarching understanding is even while learning from a distance, children will be engaged actively and interactively by doing and experiencing rather than as passive observers. The online classroom provides a space for community engagement through story and conversation, but also a strong tether to instruction, teacher guidance, and support while the child is engaging with materials in different ways.
Sparhawk draws upon many progressive, child-centered pedagogical approaches, where learning by doing and the environment itself acts as the teacher. You can read more about Sparhawk’s philosophy here. The embedded goals are to foster independence, creativity, focus, and organization, which can lead to a stronger sense of peace and self-confidence in your child. The key is setting up an environment that is stimulating, yet not cluttered, fully accessible to the child and that is organized for their independence.
Here are some ways to do this when creating a home learning space. First, it would be ideal to have a low shelf for your child’s belongings:
Have a designated place for every activity.
Have less out on display (and rotate items).
Display items in open baskets or trays in an inviting manner.
You want your child to
Second, here are items we recommend be on or near the shelf:
A basket of building materials (Legos, blocks, or Magna-Tiles, etc.)
A basket of picture books (3-10 at the most).
Containers for frequently needed “school supplies” such as markers, pencils, scissors, etc.
A tray or drawers for paper(s).
A basket or tray for musical instruments.
We will be providing different activities for math, literacy, sensory development, and nature/science. Each should have their specific place on the shelf. There will often be two activities for each curriculum area out at a time. Below are some photos for ideas, but before that...
It’s time for a very large grain of salt.
Please know we understand each family is unique and may face different limitations: space, time, or a myriad of other things, so these are merely that - suggestions. If you have a mobile child under the age of 3, then this also will be a consideration for how and where items are displayed. We support not only your child, but your whole family. And we all need to do what we need to do in order to remain sane.
The shelf pictured below allows a child to be organized and independent and is hopefully easy on the budget. We recommend you use what you have.
Remember, less is more...A space that is visually overstimulating affects a child’s focus. It’s amazing how having fewer choices helps a child actually engage more.
Here are some important safety tips. Please make sure:
Shelves are anchored to the wall.
Watch out for sharp corners.
Small items are inaccessible to younger siblings and curious pets
A place for liquid activities is designated away from electronics.
If you would like to ask any questions or want more suggestions, please feel free to contact any one of us, we are here for you!
Sarah (PreK) email@example.com
Michelle (K) firstname.lastname@example.org
Julie (music and movement) email@example.com
Catherine (art and Spanish) firstname.lastname@example.org
Cynthia (mindfulness and social-emotional curriculum and support)
Suzanne (director) email@example.com