Friday, March 11, 2011

How Providing Space Can Help Your Child Achieve the Infinite...and feel BIG!

To all my friends and followers:  I have found two wonderful blogs
Each week a theme is posted and we are challenged to address it.  It is a lot of fun and I hope to be participating in it on a regular basis: accepting its intellectual challenge, while posting what I hope you will find interesting and provocative.  This week's theme:  Space and the infinite and Big.  I am attempting to combine the two.

Two images (both from books) come to my mind as I contemplate 'a sense of space':
  • Virginia Woolf's "A Room of One's Own" - I think about it all the time and how important it is to have this space I call mine - a space to explore, accept, reject, manipulate, rest and create.
  • There is a wonderful picture book "Five Minutes Peace" where all a mother elephant wants is ...five minutes peace!  Even when soaking in the bath...
In terms of "Big": Everyone needs to feel "big," special, and in control and our kids are no exception.  Whether they are competitive or not, they are placed in situations all the time where their work, their ideas, their physical prowess are compared to others.  We, as parents and educators need to help them feel "big".  One way is to respect their ideas, presentations, and quirks, and another is to foster a sense of self, which can be done by giving them 'space.' 
    Kids need a sense of space at home and in school:
    • A place that is safe;
    • A place they can work and manipulate curriculum materials;
    • A place they can let their minds wander to absorb something said or seen from the corner of their eyes;
    • A place where they can explore "Who am I?" "How does what I know and how I feel fit in with this?" "How do I react to...?"   
    • A place to heal (when needed), to absorb, to brainstorm, to plan...
    • A sense of space is needed to navigate around the school building, the gym and locker rooms, the playground, the neighborhood.  Kids have to know where they should and should not be - for all sorts of safety and social reasons.
    • A sense of space is needed when negotiating math concepts when playing with lego's blocks, train tracks, toys, books, and arranging clothing in drawers and closets.
    How do can space and the infinite meet?

    When a child has a sense and feels the security of space, he or she will be able to take more intellectual risks.  They will be able to more comfortably embrace "the infinite" world around them, "the infinite" possibilities in front of them.

    What can you do?
    • Help your child create his or her own space at home.  If they share a room with a sibling, work with them to design and create their space.  Maybe it means a tent (of sheets, chairs, or an their own camping tent); maybe it means a desk (with or without a screen).  As each kid is different their design will be different too.  
    • Help your child create a sense of space in school.  This can be helping provide materials to decorate a desk or a locker, maybe even decorating a book bag, or book cover.
    • Help your child learn to create a mental space into which they can retreat for brief moments when necessary to think, maybe to retreat to before impulsively reacting, maybe to retreat to when in need of energy or courage... 

    How do you create your sense of space?  How do you help your kids create their space?  I hope you'll share and brainstorm with us.

    Space and the power of infinite possibilities ... what a wonderful way to grow up learning about the world and exploring your place in it!


    1. Well put.

      As a mother of a four year old and as a woman who still demands her own time and space, I can relate to this.

      For basic stability and feelings of well being, I do believe a child (and all individuals) need to have their own physical and mental space. I believe that having that is not only good for intellectual development, but for the development of a good imagination, healthy relationships and healthy emotional well being as well. I suppose one could claim that all of them fall under intellectual development, but many view intellectual mainly in terms of academics and the development of logic.

      I'd love to respond to your commentary on my blog, but your email is disabled. Please consider making it available to bloggers so that we can respond to your wonderful insights privately.

      I like your blog and will be visiting it again in the future.

    2. I absolutely agree. My kids have transformed their rooms into so many wonderful things - a "theater" for their productions (they actually sell us tickets!), a night safari, a "camp" site, a blanket fort...the list goes on. Their rooms are spaces to make imagination come to life. Great post.

    3. I enjoyed this post because I believe the recognition of an individual's space is often overlooked. It is something a lot us instinctively do for ourselves and for our children, yet I hadn't realized all the benefits. Reading this post comes at a perfect time because I am in the middle of remodeling my children's bedrooms. Space has definitely been on my mind as my sons share a room.
      Thank you for your comments on my recent blog post( ). I like your idea of linking the infinite with the impossible, of embracing "the infinite possibilities" to acheive the impossible.
      After I post this comment I will become a follower of your blog as well. I may be working on a writing career, but the educator in me loves a valuable parenting resource.

    4. Boy, do I ever get where that momma elephant was coming from. :)

      Space of one's own is very important. I teach my kids to respect everyone's space in our home, and encourage them to think of their rooms as a place to dream and play and think...privately if they want, all they have to do is close the door. Even my three year old appreciates being able to shut out mommy for a few minutes when it's on his terms. :)

    5. Very interesting intrepretation of the topic and explored very well.

    6. Thank you! Thank you all. I love the creative challenge Theme Thursday provides, and was so happy to weave it into the premise of my blog.

    7. I love "A Room of One's Own," and sometimes forget that my children need their own space as well as me. Thanks for the reminder...we're kind of all up in each others' spaces lately. I need to work on carving out both time and space for all of us. (BTW, I love your blog and decided to follow...looking forward to visiting more!)

    8. Thanks, Jimi Ann. I appreciate your support and look forward to more comments.

    9. nicely done...very practical and hits several area of the hierarchy of needs...had a boy i worked with once that was seriously lacking his own space...we created one out of an old refridgerator box and that changed everything for him....

    10. A wonderful, insightful and intelligent piece, an absolute pleasure to read!

    11. Lots of wisdom, here. Meryl. I like!

    12. I so enjoyed this piece, Meryl, a most thoughtful take on the prompt. I particularly like your concept of teaching children to embrace mental space. It is, of course, a skill that will aid them throughout their I still use often to fend off stress or to simply re-energize. It can also be the space from which creativity emerges...

      Glad to have found your page, and thanks for visiting mine...


    13. Meryl, I really enjoyed reading this post and agree so much on the importance of space to all of us. I will be visiting again for sure. Thanks too for reminding me of 'Five minutes peace' - I have and love that book!

    14. Interesting comments about space. And thanks for helping me figure out Mister Linky.

    15. I know that learning to share is a vital skill that children need to master but I always thought they should have their own room when they hit a certain age so they have their own personal domain to organize. It is interesting how some of my kids are very adept at this and some just flounder, no matter what organizational tools I provide.
      Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting.

    16. Thanks for the follow on the blog hop! Interesting article lots of points are touched on, sharing is one of the utmost important skills children need to understand!