Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Guest Blogger: Lara Fishman - Straight A's for Kids

By Lara Fishman, Founder and Principal of Designers Call (www.designerscall.com)

The following tips are general ideas that will help children make the most out of their study time. Everyone is different, but with consistency children will take on proper study habits, which will help them be successful through their lives.

1. Allocation of study space:

At an early age, children learn to allocate their time and focus on the task at hand. To provide the best study area possible, separate play space from study space, by positioning the desk in an area of the room that is dedicated to quiet reading or study times only. This can be achieved by keeping toys and other distractions away and by surrounding the study area with bookshelves and office supplies. Children now have a visual allocation of space that matches their focus on the given task at hand.

2. Remove all distractions in room:

In order to achieve the most efficient study time, clean the room and remove all clutters, toys and electronic games. This can be done by providing fun, colorful boxes or shelves and organizing them in the play portion of the room.

3. Kid sized study space:

- provide furniture that is fun and just the right size for your child. That way, your child will know that this space is made JUST FOR THEM.

4. Efficient study space:

Clear the desk from all clutter. During homework and study time, children may need paper, post-its, highlighters, scissors, pens/pencils, staplers and other office supplies. Provide pencil holders, desk drawers and other organizational units and allow the child to arrange their study area as they please. They will know exactly where they placed each item and will have immediate access to them during study times.

5. Think out loud:

To organize little messages, assignments, notes and even thoughts, cork boards and chalkboards are a fun way for children to be creative and let their minds flow. Paint a corner with blackboard paint and give them a space where drawing on the wall is encouraged! They will learn to express themselves through brainstorming and form basic, organizational habits.

6. Easy on the eye:

Have you ever stared at a book, or in the case of this generation - a computer screen, for too long and gotten a headache? Improper lighting has been proven to damage the eyesight. With your children still developing, it is crucial to provide good task lamps that provide enough lighting for the desk but yet are soft enough on the eye. Some great lighting options for kids’ rooms are pivotal architectural task lamps (some can clip to side of desk), floor lamps that can cantilever over desk space like the arc lamp, wall sconces can also spill light from the walls to improve even light distribution and prevent more shadowing effects. Recessed can lights overhead should always be set on dimmers. Having the lamps on three way switches is also helpful so the amount of light output depending on time of day can be modified. Wall-mounted library lamps work great to accent and highlight cork or chalk board from above.

7. Smart placement

You want your child to feel like their study space is a sanctuary, and not a prison. Place their desk within view of a window, but not directly in front of it. You want them to feel connected to the outside world, but not distracted by it. This gives them something to look at as they think and ruminate, giving their little eyes a much-needed break, but keeps them focused on what they’re doing. Additionally, sunlight can enter and brighten the study space, while providing an energy-saving and healthy alternative to store bought lamps.

8. Reading sanctuary:

Not all study time involves sitting at a desk and hunching over math problems. At times, children need a change of space to refresh their minds. A big, comfortable lounge chair, or potato sack, is a perfect place for children to sink their mind (and body) into the exciting world of literature. Give them a cozy place to escape to physically as their mind goes off even further. There are so many options for kids task and lounge seating. The classic Eames shell chair with the Eiffel tower base is a great ergonomic fit for a desk chair as is zuo modern’s re-interpretation of the Herman Miller time life chair. Eames’ LCM & LCW kids’ versions are a timeless bet as well. Emeco also makes a child’s version of the navy chair available in the original stainless steel, orange and navy. Designer’s Call’s Rock ‘n Wave lounger is a hybrid of a rocker and lounge chair and if fully upholstered. The Fatboy™ original by Dwell bean bags are awesome and last forever – kids don’t outgrow them. They are now available in Marimekko prints. Moroccan poufs are great to pair up with the Fatboys to prop up feet and as an accent table.

9. Pick your hue wisely

It’s scientifically proven that certain colors evoke particular emotions in people. Selecting the color for your child’s study space is purely subjective; a sum of several considerations. Is your child more on the calm or active side? Are they prone to daydreaming or distraction?

To create a mellow ambience, butters and paler tones of blue/greens are best. Vibrant color tends to excite and children should feel relaxed in order to best imbibe new information. For a more neutral background, Warm tones like gr-eige (grey-ish beige) and mushroom are reasonable choices. Consider wallpaper organic in nature like a grasscloth to create a cocoon like atmosphere. You may consider highlighting the study wall where desk is placed with this subtle wallpaper.

Window treatments should not create a black-out effect, but rather a sense of translucency where natural light filters through to create warmth and alertness in the environment. Woven wood shades for an earthy look or lighter Belgian linens both create this translucent calm. The shades also help with insulation from heat and sound.

Fabrics should be almost wearable. Textured, soft and washable are key descriptions to consider when upholstering a desk chair or lounge chair.

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Annie Choi said...

Dear Lara:
Thank-you for your mention of Emeco chairs. Our chairs are made of recycled aluminum, not stainless steel. They come in brushed finihs, as well as white and black powder coat colors.
Please visit www.emeco.net

Storm Resources said...

so sorry annie - recycled aluminum!

mab said...

don't baish your child to this area and think they are working....drop in and take an interest in what they are doing....ask them to share the highlights of their lastest book...like a good movie it needs to be shared....have a large calendar available so they can plan projects and manage their time well...celebrate the the great things they have accomplished so they will be able and have the desire to get through the challenges or unexpected bumps in the road!