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How To Set Up The Best Playschool In Your Home, No Matter How Small The Space
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  • Play gives children an opportunity to discover and awaken a sense of wonder. By being intentional and purposeful with the space you provide your child, you are giving him an avenue to make his creativity bloom and make his learning experiences fun and safe at the same time.

    This was the topic Nido and SmartParenting.com.ph wanted to explore for “Play: Your Child's Path To Becoming Brilliant” under the Smart Parenting Masterclass Toddler Expert Tips series. It tapped Teacher Sari Lee to provide tips for parents when it comes to setting up an environment conducive for play at home, no matter how small the space.

    How to set up a playschool at your home

    Teacher Sari's post graduate degree in Educational Leadership from Macquarie University in Sydney has shaped her philosophy that authentic playtime is not wasted when it is planned. It has become her motivation for Playscape, a premium early childhood service where a playschool is planned around a child's needs and conducted at her home. (Read more about it here.)

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    Based on her experience with Playscape, Teacher Sari shared with moms who attended the Smart Parenting Masterclass how to begin setting up their own playschool at home.

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    1. Less is more when it comes to toys.

    Create a specific area for arts and crafts. Even if there aren’t too many toys, rest assured that it can still work because children need to have the comfortable reassurance of the same materials.

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    2. Use “passive toys” that help encourage active learners.

    According to early childhood expert Magda Gerber, “Passive toys are toys that respond only when an infant or child activates them.”

    Teacher Sari suggests that instead of an actual iPad, choose to get a “writing screen” or “magic slate.” You can also use uncooked rice grains, put a few drops of food coloring mixed in vinegar to stain the rice in different colors. Place them in containers and allow your child’s imagination to work as he plays with the rice. It is key for parents to embrace mess that comes with practice play.

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    Other examples of passive toys:

    1. Wooden push-toys with gears
    2. Simple, old-fashioned stuffed animals (for creative play)
    3. Drawing boards
    4. Simple instruments like a small wooden guitar or egg shakers
    5. Puzzles

    3. Encourage hands-on learning and freedom of movement.

    Use mats on the floor and give enough space for children to run and move, and even climb. Limit number of items in your play space so that children are more free to move about.

    In creating a safe and proactive playspace, parents need to remember that the way their children will approach play is reflected on how their parents view play.

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    “Think of your own upbringing. How do you relate to your own parenting style? Be mindful of the the language you speak while your child is at play. Understand your own views of play,” Teacher Sari challenges parents. “Ask yourself if you limit, or nurture play? Do you allow healthy boundaries?”

    “A child who has been allowed to play has the best attention span,” she emphasizes. “You need to teach your child to engage and interact. Th screen limits the time you have with your child. Be purposeful with the materials you place in your playspace. Declutter toys that you feel are not being used.”

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