A peek inside a reader’s play space…
Takoma Park Cooperative Nursery School, our parent participatory school, has designated four spaces to help shape and celebrate play experiences for the children. Our philosophy of education has shaped the environment.
We have the classroom for meetings, story time, and fine motor exploration and construction. There is a studio space for artwork and other pursuits which involve drips and drops. We include the outdoor play space as a destination which folds in every aspect of our program. We also have a room specifically designed for social dramatic play rather than simply a corner of a larger space. The room and its materials become all-encompassing.
We have several destinations for the dramatic play that is taking place inside to tumble out to in the playground. A campsite, an ever-moving pile of large branches, and a sandpit. The favorite place is the Children’s Teahouse. We also change out the materials found there although sticks, rain water, shells, and hickory nuts seem to be a constant and just the thing every child needs for a whole host of story lines.
The strength of our program springs from the play that occurs in these spaces devoted to social dramatic play. By design and purpose, the dramatic play spaces provide a place for everyone to come to the table — children comfortable with imaginary and dramatic play and those still developing skills and the language of play (children in the autism spectrum or with social language delays.)
The materials and dress-ups in the imaginary play room change depending on a collection of themes. For instance, this month you will find capes, lace, and velvet dress-ups along with silver goblets, pewter plates, and overflowing jewel boxes and a couple of cauldrons. This makes perfect sense when sharing fairy tales. The fairy tales become part of the story line for play.
With thanks to Lesley of Takoma Park Cooperative Nursery School for sharing this inspiring, child-centred space with us. It has certainly inspired me to have another look at the imaginary play potential of our at-home play space.
Do you have a family or kids play space in your home that you love (indoors or outdoors)? Submit your play space here and you too could be featured on Childhood 101.
Be sure to visit the previous Our Play Space posts for more inspiration!