More than a century ago Friedrich Froebel wrote, “There is no lovelier sight than a child deeply absorbed in play.” More recently Ferre Laevers has done excellent work around children’s deep involvement in play. Old or new, these ideas resonate with early childhood professionals, who are accustomed to observing children’s body language and facial expression to gauge depth of engagement and learning. Such professionals know too that the way the room is set up has everything to do with the level of children’s focus.
A room’s layout makes an enormous difference on the quality of children’s play.
Where blocks are provided out in the open, nothing creative can happen; in fact, blocks often get kicked around or used in wild and noisy ways. However, where blocks are provided in a corner, deep-level involvement is fostered. The child in this photo could immerse in his activity because there is nothing to distract his attention. Being in a corner of the room, his creation is not inadvertently bumped by passers-by.
So your room’s corners are particularly valuable. Unfortunately, many rooms have only a couple of usable corners due to placement of doors. In such situations, storage shelves can be placed at right angles to walls to create ‘corners’ or bays for children’s play. These boundaries create activity areas where children can feel secure and become deeply engaged.
For more detail on arranging your room, see our Spaces: Room layout for 0–5 year olds training booklet