Sadly summer is nearly over and school will be starting soon. The littles and I have enjoyed having the school-age children here for full days but I’ll admit there was a brief period in the Spring when I was a little apprehensive about having enough space to accommodate the older children. The dining/art area was originally set up like this;
This arrangement worked OK when the school-age children were only here for a brief period after school. The school-age table was folded down out of the way most of the day leaving me and the preschoolers access to the toddler table and also plenty of open floor space for group projects, sensory bins etc.
However, when everyone was here it was difficult to have them all in this room. The toddler table had to be pushed tight in to the corner when the school-age table was up. It was impossible to have both groups seated comfortably at the same time. School-age children often had difficulty accessing art supplies without assistance.
So, I rebuilt my desk in the corner where the toddler table had been and moved the toddler table to the former desk location. This switch enabled more space around all the tables AND it gave me more desk space to pile papers on too!
It looks a little crowded in this picture but the highchairs and school-age table can easily be moved out of the way to open up a large section of floor space when needed. The old school-age table is still folded against the wall – I brought out the larger table for the summer so the children had room for larger art projects.
The new box window that we built during my vacation now houses all the art supplies, lets in plenty of light and no longer has only a view of my neighbour’s dining room.
The toddler table now only has one side against a wall so all six chairs are usable all the time. This means that the smallest children can join the group at the table when they are ready instead of remaining in the highchairs because there is limited space.
This flexible arrangement has worked well all summer and I’m certain it will continue to once we (sadly) return to the school-year schedule too.