Every parent would want effective learning activities for their children, not only at school but also at home. Parents hope that their children will be enthusiastic about doing homework, studying for exams, reading subject matter, and so on. Many factors determine the effectiveness of learning activities, such as children’s motivation, learning styles, teaching methods, social and physical environments. From the existing factors, the author will specifically discuss physical environmental factors, such as the quality of the place or study space at home, where these factors have a major influence on children’s learning processes.
Various studies have shown that the physical environment affects children’s motivation and behavior while learning. Why is that? Because the motivation and behavior of a child can be influenced by the interaction between his needs and the environment. For example, every child has a need for a pleasant learning experience and a sense of security. If the room or study area is noisy and not neatly arranged, it can cause children’s needs not to be fulfilled properly. Learning experiences become less enjoyable, lack interest, and a sense of security for children to learn, as well as noise that makes it difficult for children to concentrate. In addition, the unorganized space makes it difficult for children to find the equipment they need for learning. He spent time searching for study equipment. The child’s time and energy have been partially drained. Finally, the child has the potential to lead to sleepy behavior for a while, delaying study time on the grounds of being “tired”, and even decreasing his motivation to learn because there is no space and place that is comfortable, safe, and effective for him to learn. Therefore, parents need to create an effective learning place or space so that children are more excited about learning.
What benefits do children get when parents can create an effective learning space or place?
- A pleasant, conducive, and comfortable learning atmosphere. This is because the room or place of study is organized, equipment is easily accessible, and the lack of noise.
- Learning activities are inspirational and interesting. This can happen because of the room decorations that can foster creative thinking. For example, decorations that contain educational values, quotes from Bible verses, or inspirational quotes from world figures.
- Increased interest and motivation, so that children feel happy, excited, and enjoy learning activities.
- Increased concentration and understanding in learning.
- Foster a sense of responsibility. When the room is organized, parents can involve their children in keeping the room clean, tidy, and organized. Children are given the responsibility to put things in their place, decorate their personal space or place, as well as the responsibility to complete assignments or study.
- Achievement or learning outcomes become more optimal.
Then, how can parents create an effective learning space? Here are some tips that parents can do:
- Set the position of the study table
Parents shouldn’t equate dressers, dining tables, living room tables, parents’ deals, and even the bed as a child’s study table. Parents can facilitate children with private study desks. The position of the study table should be placed in a place that is some distance from a noisy place or a place that is often passed by other family members (however parents can still monitor children’s learning activities even from a considerable distance). If children’s learning activities still need to be guided by parents, prepare a chair that is placed near the child’s study table so that parents can control, observe, and discuss with the child. In addition, parents also need to organize and minimize objects around the study table that aren’t related to children’s learning activities. Avoid the TV near the child’s study table. Objects that aren’t related to learning activities will distract the learning process and reduce freedom for children.
- Organize study equipment
An orderly, maintained, and tidy environment will be preferable to an environment that isn’t maintained and tidy. Parents can use plastic containers, cardboard or boxes, cupboards, or drawers to store study supplies. Parents and children can collectively sort and organize whatever equipment is placed in the box, cupboard, or drawer. Parents and children can also put label stickers on each box or cupboard to remember what equipment is stored in it. Be consistent to always keep certain learning equipment in one designated place. For example, consistently storing stationery in a drawer, crafting utensils in plastic containers, notebooks in the cupboard, or worksheets on a binder. It is also important to pay attention to the accessibility aspect. Place children’s learning equipment not far from the study table, so that children can easily reach learning tools and resources.
- Decorating a place or study room
The decoration of the place of study can describe the identity of the owner of the place or room. When a child feels that a place or space describes his or her personality, motivation and interest in learning also increase. The decoration of the place of study can include a timetable, a blackboard or small wall magazine, wall decorations that contain educational values, photo frames, pictures, or motivational words. These attributes can create a conducive learning atmosphere and interest in learning. We recommend that the decorations that have been made can be installed in a place that is easily observed and read by children. Parents can invite children to hang their pre-work results, posters that have been made, mathematical or physics formulas, timetables that have been made, or group photos with friends, teachers, or parents.
- Lighting and room temperature
Parents also need to pay attention to the lighting of a child's place or study room. Pay attention to whether when studying the child has his back to the light. We recommend that parents prepare study lamps or lampstands that can be placed on or beside the child's study table. It should also be noted whether the light from the lamp is too bright or dim. Dim light has the potential to make children's eyes tired, damaged, and quickly sleepy. Likewise, the light that is too bright makes children's eyes tired and damaged. Set it so that the light is bright enough and focused so that the child can maintain concentration while studying. In addition, room temperature is equally important. Glen I. Earthman in his research found that temperature is one aspect that plays an important role in children's achievement. Temperature can affect a child's concentration level and mood. Therefore, parents should be able to adjust the temperature of the child's study or place so that it is not too hot or cold.
It is important to remember that parents remain consistent, and involve children in arranging a place or study room. In addition, make sure that every setting is safe and healthy for the child. Congratulations on creating an effective learning environment for your child!
Elly Thomas, M.Psi., Psi.
IPEKA Counseling Center