During 2020 our lives were turned upside down. COVID-19 forced up all to stay home and change the way we went about our every day lives. With the closing of schools and offices, which for many, has spilled over into the new year, families are still scrambling to carve out a space in their homes that is suitable for distance learning.
Creating a space for your child to focus and learn, while blocking out all of the distractions of home, can be quite a challenge. Inviting colors, seamless organizational solutions and functional furniture combined with optimal sound, lighting and access for charging devices are essential when designing your home learning space.
There is quite a bit of roll playing and imagination that goes into setting up a virtual classroom too! For instance, creating a space that is used exclusively for school helps children to separate home life from the class. Particularly with younger children, establishing routines such as placing belongings in a cubby, or setting up a library for checking books in and out of sounds silly, but these routines help with separation and better prepare them for when they do return to in-person school.
I f there is a separate entrance, your little ones might feel like they've gone somewhere each day (to school) by entering the classroom through a different entry way. Although this option isn't always possible, homes that do have a basement or a mud room off from the garage can be an ideal area to create a learning space.
Keeping the classroom closed off when virtual learning is not in session is very important as well. Don't allow the room to become the play room, or else that teddy bear or soccer ball will surely become a distraction and make it's way into class! Some ideas for creating separation in a room, may be as simple as putting in a book case, a partition, or installing tension rods with curtains to close off the area after hours.
Aside from functionality, the size of classroom furniture really does matter. If you have a five year old, Dad's old office chair or Mom's bulky desk in the den might be uncomfortable for your child to sit at for hours on end. On the other hand, if you have a teen, a child sized desk or chair won't provide the space or storage they'll need for a heavier work load. This is probably where you don't want to cut corners, if your budget permits.
Motivational quotes, wall art, fun characters and designated activity stations, along with supplies bins and an assortment of age appropriate learning materials are sure to keep your child engaged.
However you go about setting up their learning space, be sure to make it feel warm and inviting since being online can be a stressful time for your little ones. Before long, we'll all get back to school and work, but until then, give them a friendly and secure environment to thrive in.