Updated: Oct 4, 2020
In a world where everything is go go go, now now now and is so much about outward connection we all value quiet, a space to quiet our minds, recharge, to hear ourselves think.
This does not necessarily mean you need a dedicated space in your home for quiet - in setting up my home based kindergarten though it was essential that I had a space that honoured this in the playroom, a space when with busy with the work and imagination of children can indeed reflect the hustle and bustle of our busy modern lives.
The quiet space as a space for security.
The child’s world is full of stimulation from the moment they wake all their senses are engaged in the experiences of the day. As babies - self regulation through sleep allows them to process and cope with this stimuli and provides a means for them to shut away from it. As children get older they may need less and less sleep but still need time and space to process all the sensory information they receive, to allow their brain and body to rest. Quiet spaces dedicated to this in the home help and just like when a child needs sleep they know their bed is their resting space, when they need this time of quiet they know where to go and what to do.
The quiet corner in my playroom at home is small, I used a wooden play frame and silk to divide the space from the rest of of the playroom. The soft silk provides a warm and relaxing backdrop to the area, an area big enough to fit myself and my daughter in, or a few younger children. Warmth is a big consideration in Steiner Waldorf, I know that when I feel cold I cannot function properly.. and so we recognise this in children. Playrooms are full of natural breathable materials to aid in just this. The corner here has a small rug, and blankets made from wool, a cushion for comfort. This tiny corner communicates ‘come and get cosy, stay A little while’ Its no coincidence in play this space becomes the ‘bedroom’ where we pretend to be asleep before our playtime adventures begin. Sometimes quiet spaces warrant quiet play, and I have noticed after observing the little one over the months she will love to do certain things in this space, look at books, practice threading toys, things which need quiet concentration and purpose. So I keep Some selected items here for her to use.
Quiet spaces for communication
Children love small cosy quiet spaces - they are a great catalyst for communication as well as relaxation and as an early years worker the amount of times I have spent talking to a child and being invited into their world away from the hustle and bustle of the room, from the noise of the outside world is wonderful. The amount of meaningful conversations I have had with my own children at bed time, in a space they feel secure and familiar with is a testament to security equalling communication. Confined and warming spaces invite children back into that womb like world they have come from, children who are ‘quiet’ or ‘shy’ may thrive in spaces like this as they feel centred, in control and like they are being held by their environment. When our spaces give our children a big hug.. when they enable a child to feel independent, to express who they are, when they embrace the child they become just as important in helping tat child feel secure, respected and valued for who they are and their abilities.
With that in mind our quiet spaces can become spaces for communication and collaboration, just like the feeling of walking into a library, when we bring some small ideas into these spaces it can help children process in their own time (and with yourself if they so wish) the rhymes they sing, the stories they hear. Just a few resources in the space can provide a catalyst for children developing their own voice internally and externally. The space in my home for the little one has a few things for this:
a small selection of seasonal books, these stay here for the little one to explore in her own time,
a basket of Finger puppets which we use for rhymes, this encourages her to use to sing her self and she uses them in play and her own storytelling
a basket of instruments, soft shakers and glockenspiel for some gentle sound
the current months storytelling dolls or props, left for her to play and explore outside of circle time, to re-enact stories and use herself.
Try and create a quiet space for rest and communication at home:
A small sheepskin rug
A blanket and cushion
A basket of ‘quiet things,a couple of books, a simple instrument, a finger puppet’
Allow your child to make this space theirs, where they feel comfortable and secure. We will be looking next at the seasonal playroom and looking how I invite the outside into my home. I cant wait to share.