Monday, February 15, 2010

Step One: Declaring Areas for Interest in the Creative Curriculum® Home

Those who have been following this blog over the past couple weeks already know that I have been trying to get out of Theory Jungle by reflecting on how I might adapt parts of The Creative Curriculum® (CC) to my home.

Today, I'd like to share my first step:  CC dictates that children should be provided with eleven interest areas. After much thought and many makeshift starts at creating a Montessori-type learning space, a dedicated play-n-learn space and a hodge -podge of other types of “classroom” areas in our home over the past four years, I have realized that the idea of interest areas is perhaps the most ideally suited plan for both my children’s and my own personalities – not to mention for our overall home layout. With a new baby on the way, there’s hardly room in our home  -- or our budget --  for a dedicated classroom full of nifty new educational materials. We need to work with what we have. So, let areas be dedicated!

Blocks – These have migrated from our living room to our office/play-n-learn space to the kids’ bedrooms at different times. Their current in-use home is on some shelving in our office/play-n-learn space, while blocks and props to be rotated are in the basement, garage and who knows where. After some consideration, I have decided that the permanent Blocks interest area will be our basement family room after its big de-clutter, with a correlating storage labeled bin in the garage. Until then, the office/play-n-learn space works okay.

Dramatic Play – This interest area has been a free for all in our home with no dedicated space.  The kids (and us) enjoy dramatic play on the entire upper floor of our house, but mostly in the kids’ room and the living room. Materials we use for dramtic play are stored in whatever nook or cranny of the house I have been able to stash them, but mostly in the garage and family room-to-be. Within a year, I hope our Dramatic Play area's permanent home will be divided between the living room and the family room, with labeled storage in the garage. For the time being, the living room and the kids’ room will continue be the main places for Dramatic Play.

Toys & Games – Again, can we say free for all? Currently, toy and game materials are mostly corralled in the living room and the office/play-n-learn space, as well as in closets, the garage and the basement. After our big basement big de-clutter, Toys & Games will, hopefully, be open for usage in the family room, with a few quiet ones in each children’s room, as well as some family games in the living room. Storage will be dedicated and labeled in the garage.

Art – To date, art has had no permanent home in our house. Storage of materials is spread between a variety of closets, cupboards and bureaus in almost every room we have, while art-in-action usually happens in the kitchen, office/play-n-learn space or outside. I think after our big de-clutter, our Art area will find a permanent “doing” home in kitchen as well as outdoors, when weather permits, and in a small area of the family room. Storage space will likely be in labeled bureau drawers the laundry room, but that will depend on how my laundry room de-clutter and organization goes.

Library – We have mini libraries in every room of our house and will continue to do so. However, our main Library will be housed on shelves in the family room after our big de-clutter. For now, the “sorting library” is in Mike and my room.

Discovery – This one, too, has been catch as catch can in our house to date – enjoyed wherever we happen to be and have space. Within the next year, I think I would like to create a small permanent Discovery area near our entryway and a larger one in the family room. It will depend on space organization as our big de-clutter and Order in the Home quest continue.

Sand & Water – These have been enjoyed mostly in the kitchen and outdoors, while sometimes in the bathroom, of course. Because the floor in the kitchen is the most conducive one on our home for clean up, I think I am going to work on carving out a kitchen space for Sand & Water play when weather prevents us from enjoying it outside.  And, of course, impromptu water play in the tubby will continue!  If -- and what a big if here --  we can get the garage in order and find space there, bad weather Sand & Water play may eventually be relocated there.

Music & Movement – This naturally occurs in the living room in our home and, sometimes, extends into the hallway – think percussion band parades! So, I think the living room is the most logical space for Music & Movement to find its permanent home. Done!

Cooking – No brainer in any home – the kitchen!

Computers – This is one area where my philosophy and the Creative Curriculum’s® differ. I am not big fan of young children and screen time – even computer screen time. So, I will not be dedicating a “home” for this interest area, save for occasional lap time with Mommy and Daddy at the computer in wherever our new office space lands when the current office/play-n-learning space becomes a kids’ room - perhaps in our bedroom or the family room.

Outdoors – Hmm? Can we say – outside, of course! If only recreating and improving our outdoor space would be as easy as deciding where this interest area should go! I have a plethora of creative ideas for doing so. The dearth comes with the time and money to do so... One step in the journey at a time, right?  With but a step forward at a time, many miles can be covered!
Now, with this “thought” step of deciding which areas of our home to dedicate to the Creative Curriculum’s® interest areas taken, I am left to wonder if the physical step of creating each area will be as simple. We shall see... But, next, more brain food for the journey.  Coming soon:  Step Two: Thinking about Space Planning Guidelines in the Creative Curriculum®.

As always, I invite you to join me in this journey by leaving comments about how you are organizing your own home play and learning spaces, by lending encouragement, by simply sharing a tale of your own journey.  Please, feel free to comment below.  Your company makes my journey that much more interesting...

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