Not being part of a Learning Institution right now, I had to get creative to start with! Who could I get together that would be interested in Learning Spaces and Design? Well I’ve got a lot of friends with young children so I decided to hit a Mother’s Group. I only knew my friend who introduced me and she kindly lent me her house and her son! We put a head cam on his bike helmet and let him loose…….
I put the video together and invited the Mothers Group to come to a Creative Coffee Morning to talk about designing learning spaces for their kids.
I knew it wouldn’t be a big group so I created a Facebook Group as well and invited a lot of Mums to join. Twitter isn’t such a favourite with Mum’s it seems but they all have Facebook Mothers Groups and such so it seemed the safer social media option.
I tested the video out on the local crèche at my Gym – but it was too noisy and Mum’s were into much of a rush to leave to really concentrate on what I was trying to say – so I’m glad I did that because it meant that I tweaked the actual event so the kids were outside and less of a distraction.
So the day came. I baked muffins, primed my Nespresso machine and set up and waited for them to arrive. A few had sick kids so we ended up with quite a small group, but he Facebook page had already gone international with some posts from Singapore so I wasn’t too worried.
We started out with getting to know one another and then got down to the business of Design and why we all thought it was so complicated and perhaps we weren’t designers.
We then discussed the stages of Design Thinking and for the Immersion stage I played the video. It was fantastic to watch the revelations the video provoked. There was an immediate pick up of the height of the video and how fast it was moving and how the angle was so different.
We then spent a great deal of time talking about our own experiences as children and what we remembered – the video jogged our memories
We discovered that we (and children) liked to create ‘cubbies’ all the parent had children under 6 years old and there were quite a bit of differences to the way they played between boys and girls, eldest and youngest and age.
We came up with a list of Definitions for the Learning Spaces
- Smaller space to make a cubby
- Close to parents so the children could ‘show’
- Child should be involved to make it ‘their’ space
- Spaces for siblings and spaces alone
- Under a table is a good spot
And also some constraints
- Easy to set up and keep clean
- Easy to clear up
- Variety of resources might be limited
- Space might be limited (Apartment versus House with garden)
- Not Time consuming
- Time of Day (naps and such)
- Child participation
We also discussed prototyping and how we could change the area every couple of days to keep the children interested and also how we would seek their feedback.
The discussion also turned to the future and how this would set their children up for a ‘thinking’ spot or ‘learning’ space that would encourage good habits of attention and independence when they started Kindy and homework, it looked like a good strategy to carry on into Primary and then High School that everyone was eager to get started and see their ideas evolve.
Everyone agreed to create a space and test it out at home and post pictures to the Facebook page. We all got very excited suggesting resources and sharing ideas and planning a trip to Reverse Garbage for cheap resources for our next get together.
It was fantastic to see everyone leave with an air of confidence and excited to get started. There are already some pictures coming in on Facebook
The muffins weren’t bad either – recipe on request 😉