SPACES FOR LITTLE ONES
Experts agree that homes should support the holistic well-being of their inhabitants – physically, emotionally and spiritually. Whether the building is grand or tiny, it is our attitude that makes our home special. Each family member needs space to be, but unselfish sharing and caring should be the bottom-line.
With our theme focusing on children and their needs, first to mind comes play-space.
Heather Shumaker, Michigan author and advocate for free, unstructured play in homes and schools, wrote “True play is child-initiated and child-directed. It can occur on a blank playground. It can occur with a few tyres. Children can play – and do play – when all they are given is space and time.”
Children nowadays are called the “indoorgeneration” and mocked for being stuck to their devices. Yet, in Namibia we are fortunate that nature can be found in our back yards. Being outside, away from man-made things, is crucial to childhood development. There are trees to climb, bugs to discover, flowers to smell. How many types of grass can your children find and name? How many shades of blue are out there, waiting to be enjoyed? Suburban yards should have a section that is left wild where youngsters can explore and play-act to their hearts’ content. A veggie garden, that need not be bigger than a door, can foster hours of delight and healthy living.
Indoor spaces for children should support formal and informal learning. Encourage neatness in the home by supplying containers for their toys and craft supplies. Easy-to-clean surfaces are a must, as are stacks of newspaper to catch messes.
Be sure to create space for their formal desk studies. Be flexible and adapt to their maturing needs as privacy becomes more and more important as youngsters age. If space allows, do ensure that girls and boys have separate bedrooms. Create spaces “where the busyness stops”, allowing for daydreaming which is the breeding ground for their next creative outlet.
In the words of artist Philip Johnson: “All architecture is shelter, all great architecture is the design of space that contains, cuddles, exalts, or stimulates the persons in that space.”Christine Stoman