For a long time I’ve been reading blogs and dreaming about the day that I’ll live in a huge house that is always clean, and my work is always all done, and I have children of my own to inspire.
Before then, I’ve always thought, there’s no point trying to create provocations. My stepchildren are too old (Miss H is turning 11 in a few months, and Mr J has just had his 8th birthday). Besides, where would I do it?
And then recently I commented on a post by Kate of An Everyday Story that she has so much natural light to work with, and that I was so jealous.
That got me thinking. We actually have a fairly decent amount of natural light in our house, though it’s not always well utilised because of the location of things like bay windows and aerial points. I half jokingly said that it would almost be worth re-designing my lounge room just to take advantage of it. Then I realised that I wouldn’t really have to re-design anything, that maybe I could just take advantage of the space the bay windows created.
So I thought I’d try it out.
Previously I had been using the space behind our couch/in the bay windows to store a bunch of toys I bought for Miss T (2.5 years old now!). I’d gone a bit crazy buying toys for her, and there was no way she was ever going to play with them all. When she wanted to play, she (more often than not) would just help herself to the toys we had out for Miss H and Mr J. It occurred to me that this was the perfect opportunity to continue our de-cluttering effort, and to create a provocation space all at once.
As an aside, I have a whole new respect for anyone that knows how to take photographs when subjects are backlit! I spent half the day playing with settings and reading fora and manuals trying to find out how to take photos that were weren’t too dark to see!
I know that “My Little Ponies” aren’t the traditional kids of items you would find in a Reggio Inspired provocation space, but Miss H has been going crazy for drawing them lately, n it’s only in the last six months or so that Mr J has been spontaneously drawing, but he is a huge My Little Ponies fan . I thought I would have far greater success in engaging them in this activity if I chose something in which they already had great interest. Provocations are not something to which they are used to being exposed.
Mr J didn’t have a lot of interest in it last night (although he greatly enjoyed filling up my newly cleaned space with his Lego pieces). Miss H didn’t have much to say about it – although she asked me this morning why I had been taking photos of her ponies (apparently Mr J told her that’s what the display was for). I hadn’t intended to explain what the space was, but wait to see how they interacted with it, but Miss H asked me what the space was for, so I told her I’d set it up for her to draw. “Great!” she exclaimed, but she didn’t have time to do anything with it then as we were about to leave.
Later on I saw her engaging with the space, using the toys for imaginative play. Not what I had intended, but there’s no right or wrong way to utilise a provocation. I’ll be keeping an eye on it to see where it ends up, but mostly I’m just pleased to finally have a space where I can set up provocations – there’s so many of their interests I’ve been dying to build on.
I guess that I’ve learnt that if there’s something you want to do, there’s always a way to achieve it.
Have you ever found yourself re-thinking the way you use space?