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Feng Shui for Children’s Space within the Home

27 Nov 2017

Getting children active in such areas is a daunting task. Even teachers must be trained in how to set up learning spaces in the classroom so that children use the spaces effectively. Preparing an area for play or learning is a skill that, once done correctly, enables a child to connect with the physical space and all its resources. Seeing children interact successfully in such spaces at the setting has formed the basis for this Week Ahead. The concept of Feng Shui is at the heart how we think about organising our play areas. When I say, Feng Shui, I am not referring to the traditional practice which involves rites and rituals involved in constructing or determining the most auspicious places to build structures. I am referring to a way of thinking about how people and resources interact in the environment. Everything has its own Feng Shui. When you go to the football stadium, the museum, or the supermarket, the most outstanding and memorable of these places create feelings of harmony and synergy that makes you want to revisit time and time again. I enjoy visiting the Science and Technology Museum near Century Park just as much as my children do and it’s because the space is organised so well. We know where all the exhibits are, enjoy observing and reading the captions about the exhibits, and the maps make it easy for us to navigate our way around the museum. We’ve got to employ a similar design-thinking mentality when creating learning and play spaces for our children. It needs to be clear to children what areas are for reading and writing or what areas are for play and exploration. Furthermore, the space that we design needs to be welcoming and emotionally appealing for our children. Here are a few tips to get you started on the path to creating ideal spaces at home for your child.

Key tips for organising children's spaces

1. Light, Colour and Space

Bright areas that have windows for light to shine through are ideal spaces. Sunlight and well-lit spaces are good for children’s eyes and mental health. Light will tend to energise children and make them active in their environment. Be careful to avoid placing toys, books and other resources directly in sunlight or directly facing the window as this might be distracting for children as they engage in play or learning. The exception to this rule is when you want children to look outside; for example, if they are using an art area to draw pictures of the natural environment directly outside in your neighbourhood. Colour also influences children’s use of space and it may be worth considering painting an area to promote any given style of learning or play. To support this endeavour, there is a psychological science behind the use of colour to promote learning. In other words, the colour of a play or learning area affects children’s mood as they engage or interact within that area. According to Sylvia O’Brien, Creative Director at Colour Theory in Canada, pre-school children tend to prefer red, orange and yellow colours in general. She recommends using blue or light blue in math areas, green for libraries, and orange for media centres (http://www.colorobjects.com/en/color-columns/the-colour-real/item/357-psychology-of-colourin-the-educational-environment.html). Space is equally important when setting up the learning environment. When possible, opt for larger spaces over smaller ones. The more space a child has, the easier it is to put materials into their own unique places (e.g. book corners, art area, Lego construction zone etc.). In addition to size, it is important to consider where to place tables, chairs, desks and other resources. The goal of organising resources it to encourage “free flow” in terms of your child’s movement as well as ease of access when it comes to getting the resources that he or she needs. When it comes to considering how to organise a space, here are some key questions that you can ask yourself:Can my child move safely from one location to another?
  • Can my child move safely from one location to another?
  • Are resources conveniently placed? For example, if I have an art area, are paint brushes, markers, pens and paper in the same area?
  • Are resources located at an appropriate height for my child to access them easily?
  • Are tables and chairs appropriately placed so my child can begin using the learning or play areas?
  • Is the amount of light coming into the room sufficient for my child when he or she is playing, reading or engaging in a learning task?
2. Creativity & Location, Zones and Labels

Nothing enhances the Feng Shui of a learning area more than photos of children engaging in acts of creativity. Take photos of your child playing the piano, creating artwork, reading or singing and place them in the learning area. This will enhance your child’s confidence and give them a sense of completion as well as make the learning area exciting and motivating place for them to visit. When children complete artwork, place the artwork up on the wall. A word of advice about photos and artwork is to make sure to place these valuable pieces of work so that your child can easily see or refer to them when they engage in learning or play. When organising the learning space, think about what areas will be for maths, reading, art, building and play. Clearly label and place resources in appropriate areas for the zones that you have created. One zone should not obstruct another zone or block the flow of traffic within the general area. As stated earlier, it is important that there is enough space so that your child can freely and effectively move between the areas and access resources in those area without too much hassle.

A final word

When considering the Feng Shui of children’s play areas, it is important to think about how to connect children and spaces harmoniously. Success lies not in theory, but in practice. When a child is using an area actively, this is an indication that an area is working. If your child is not using an area that you’ve set up at home, consider rearranging the resources in the area or recreating the area in a more appropriate area of the house where the sunlight, colours and space are ideal.