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Enabling Lifelong Learning at Home --Basic Framework for Creating Supportive Physical Spaces

Children need spaces that fulfil their intrinsic need to explore, build, create and use what they have built. As adults in their lives, it is our responsibility to provide them with not just opportunities to build but also support their learning through authentic experiences.

Why do we need to provide for these spaces and experiences? Is the teaching of the 3Rs through hands on activities not enough?

Young parents and teachers have asked this question time and again.

It would do good if we understand that this requirement is not originating from any teaching philosophy but rather from the inherent requirements of young children. As adults we might have to push ourselves a little bit to provide for the children, also remember it pays to join in and enjoy this provision by becoming partners and yet staying a provider in these activities.

A little understanding of the Child Development here would enable the adults-teachers and parents/ families alike.

Jean Piaget’s theory and Stages of Cognitive Development have guided my professional and personal approaches and given me the scaffolding as I designed my personal philosophy of teaching and learning based on my experiences in the Montessori, Reggio and Playway approaches.

The three main components to Piaget’s theory are:

1. Understanding of Stages of Cognitive Development in children

2. Understanding of the Adaptation processes that enable transition from one stage to another

3. Understanding of Schemas.

This youtube link will help you understand the Stages of Cognitive Development.

The third component-Understanding of Schema- helps me design near perfect opportunities for learning for children.

Understanding and supporting some of the common Schema in play will help adults provide for powerful play opportunities to young children.

The common Schemas are:

1. Trajectory

2. Rotation

3. Enclosing

4. Enveloping

5. Transporting

6. Connecting

7. Positioning

8. Orientation

1. Trajectory

Exhibited through-Kicking, putting things in and out of containers, waving arms up and down, throwing, pulling, pushing, pointing, rocking, climbing or stepping up and down

Resources to support-kites, bubbles, balls, wet sponges, pully systems, water / air pumps, yoyos, car tracks, safe areas to climb, areas with provision for stepping up and down on steps

2. Rotation

Exhibited through-Twisting, turning, rolling

Resources to support-locks and keys, winding up toys, construction toys, paint rollers, tools, wheels, tyres.

3. Enclosing

Exhibited through-Building fences or wall

Resources to support-fabrics, cardboard boxes, tunnels, parachutes, shoe boxes, clay, simple baskets, lidded pots, ladles,spoons, construction.

4. Enveloping

Exhibited through-Fillings bags, making dens

Resources to support-socks, pillow cases, Russian dolls, tins, boxes, suitcases, bags, purses, wallets, wrapping paper, blankets, scarves, dupattas, sarees, fabrics

5. Transporting

Exhibited through--Moving objects from place to place with hands, buckets, trolleys, wheelbarrows, bags

Resources to support-Child friendly tools for digging, tractors, wheelbarrows, pebbles, natural objects, loose parts, scoops, spades, spoons, baskets, buckets, sorting trays, ice cube trays, medicine boxes, masala boxes.

6. Connecting

Exhibited through-Tying things together, building chains, fastening fabrics

Resources to support-Child friendly material to thread and string beads, buttons, etc strings, weaving frames, toy train tracks, construction blocks, junk modelling, clothes with fastenings.


Exhibited through-Ordering, arranging objects

Resources to support-Stacking toys-cups, dolls, boxes. Peg boards, balancing scales, loose parts.

8. Orientation

Exhibited through-Hanging upside down, looking through legs, building ramps, re-positioning

Resources to support-posting boxes, magnifying glasses, binoculars, mirrors

These are simple materials which can be provided for in all settings-homes and schools. Keeping activities simple with the key points laid out in the first post will help parents provide for activities that allow children to construct meaning in whatever activity they are doing. Opening and closing containers and stacking can be carried out in any kitchen.

Start with providing for these resources and then move to simple self-help activities that involve cooking without fire. Add a few basic circuitry tools and if you can then tech tools and you have your Home Maker Lab all set up-there is no stopping to bringing out the maker not just in your child but you too. The design of your lab can vary from Lab in a Box to A Maker Room. Go with what you have.

this framework will support you in providing Learning spaces at home.

Making does not require elaborate setups but just a maker mindset.

Hoping each child and each parent will enjoy the magical years and grow together as Makers.

Adding a simple list to help to assemble parts for your makerlab-be it a Lab in a Box or a Maker Room.

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