built spaces for kids
From: Leni Reed (ssavvyerols.com)
Date: Mon, 29 Sep 1997 10:19:16 -0500
Since I don't yet live in a cohousing community, my thoughts are simply my
ideas based on being a mom...

I do not think it's a good idea to build a separate playroom, because
parents who are eating in the dining area cannot see their kids and their
kids cannot see them.  And for little kids, say up to 3 or 3 1/2 years of
age, I think that's a critical issue.

Instead, I think it would be good to dedicate a corner of the dining area as
the kids' space.  This section could be outfitted with colorful mats and big
fabric coated foam blocks (to define the space) and lots of safe toys for
the youngest ones.

For the children ages 3 and up, I'd want to have a separate arts and
crafts/projects room where they could help themselves to supplies (within
reason) and do creative stuff on their own whenever they would want to --
like paint a picture, assemble a model airplane, build a big Lego project...
This area would be intended to handle all kinds of spills etc.  (Recently we
created such an area in the basement of our single family house in suburbia.
It's worked out great!) 

Finally, I think the ideal spaces for kids are outdoor spaces and
semi-outdoor spaces (porches)...and giving thought to these spaces is
important, too.

My two cents,
Leni Nazare
ssavvy [at] erols.com
EcoVillage of Loudoun County, VA
(Where we just had a celebration on our land, a kind of open house without
any houses, and 70 people showed up ...and a couple new folks signed on!)

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