In addition to collecting materials for home preschool you’ll need to think about where you’ll want to spend your home preschool time. Preschool is active, and you’ll be alternating between indoor and outdoor play, seated activities and movement, messy play and mess-free play. So realistically home preschool will happen everywhere. However, putting some thought into where you want to be most of the day can be helpful. Here are some helpful things to consider when setting up your home preschool learning space.
Setting Up Your Home Preschool Learning Space
Some families choose to do home preschool in their main family area (like the living room or dining table). Others choose to use a dedicated preschool room or existing playroom. I have tried both, and personally found there are benefits and drawbacks to both.
Pros and Cons of Using the Main Family Area
Benefits of Using the Main Family Area:
- Kids are often most comfortable in this area
- Close to kitchen sink and areas to easily clean up messes and transition between learning activities and mealtimes
- Easy to accomplish other household tasks while children engage in independent learning activities and still supervise
- Multiple learning surfaces like kitchen table, open floor space, cozy couch etc. that allow for different types of activities.
- Can be helpful when you have children of multiple ages and need to be feeding one while supervising another doing home preschool tasks.
Drawbacks of Using the Main Family Area:
- Space can feel a bit cluttered if you are storing materials and using them all in the main family area
- Sometimes means more mess in the family area with unfinished projects and ongoing tasks
- In some ways requires more set up and clean up than a dedicated space
- Can sometimes feel like you never get a break from home preschooling
Pros and Cons of Using a Dedicated Learning Space
Benefits of Using a Dedicated Learning Space:
- Can be nice to have all materials in one central locations that is out of sight when not home preschooling
- Allows for projects that aren’t completed to be left out for continued work another day
- May be easier to keep kids focused on projects and activities
- May be easier to keep younger kids engaged and not wandering around the house while helping other kids with projects or learning tasks
- If you find yourself thinking about other chores and things you need to get done during the day, a dedicated learning space can help you stay in the moment instead of visually seeing the dishes and laundry that need to be done around you.
Drawbacks of Using a Dedicated Learning Space:
- May not have learning surfaces or flooring that allow for all home preschool activities (like painting and play dough)
- May not have sink nearby to clean up
- Less ability to multitask
Select Your Own Home Preschool Space
After considering the pros and cons of each option, think about which best fits your needs and your home. We tried both options and enjoyed both of them for different reasons. Remember that you can always transition later if the space you select isn’t working.
What Should Be In Your Learning Space?
There is a lot of research and information on preparing a learning environment for preschoolers. For the purposes of this series I’ll share just a few tips that I think are key.
A learning space for early childhood should include:
- a cozy spot to read together
- tables, baskets or shelves to display books to read, activity options or learning trays
- a work surface and floor that is easy to clean and won’t stain (or is allowed to be stained) from messy activities
- room to display kids’ creations and work they are proud of
All of these things don’t have to be found in the same location. You can easily head outside for art time, and lay down a drop cloth on a tile floor to make space for messy play. Just consider the kinds of activities you’ll be doing and plan accordingly.
This is Unit 4, Lesson 2 of the Guide to Getting Started with Home Preschool Special Training. Return to the main Preschool at Home page or proceed to Unit 4, Lesson 3: Develop a Lesson Plan Template.