The pictures below are from our dramatic play/loft area. I am desperately looking to remodel this area and am looking for suggestions. Please join the Reggio Listserv, or email me directly, to enter into a dialogue about how to make changes within these areas that will help them function more successfully to facilitate respectful play and learning among children. We will post suggestions and eventual changes on this site as well. Thank you in advance for your help.
Current use: The area below the loft is used for dramatic play. Right now it is rather empty as I am waiting to remodel the area. It is almost always a giant mess when it is being used and is rarely picked up respectfully, either by staff or by children.
Past attempts: In the past I have attempted to put different materials such as pine cones or real dishes in the area but these are broken within a matter of days. Mostly when the materials/clothes/etc. are taken out, the children drop everything on the ground and trample all over them.
Dramatic play storage: We had a larger cupboard for storing clothes and shoes but we just got rid of it because we knew it was one of the things that had to go. To the far right of the area next to the window is a reasonably sized closet where we store materials for this area. We have a large collection of dress up clothes and shoes of all sorts- cool stuff. Right now it is all put away. (I see the mop bucket in the picture- it is usually somewhere else)
Ideas I currently have in mind:
- I had some ideas about the ceiling of the dramatic play area, which is now just white.
- I had thought about putting a piece of trellis on there and putting ivy up, kind of like an arbor or pergola feeling (i saw that in another website somewhere a while ago).
- I have also purchased some nice hooks for hanging clothes up on and have some beautiful african cloth sewn into squares waiting to hang up for use by the children for whatever they wish.
Before: Under Loft Area
What you see in the picture
The red and blue thing is a leftover part of our ice cream machine- we aren’t quite sure what to do with it.
The wooden thing that you can see at the top of the loft is leftover from our attempt to have a pulley system so that children can use to “pulley” things up into the loft. We weren’t able to figure anything out that didn’t involve rope that children could get caught up in.
We would still like to be able to do something like this.
The green stuff is astroturf and it really is ready to go, just not sure what to replace it with.
The plexiglass is incredibly heavy but serves the purpose of letting us see what is happening in the loft. Sometimes the building blocks get hauled up to the loft and the children build structures against the plexiglass- that is cool.
The loft area is currently used mostly for lego building. it is relatively quiet and often quite messy. I’m sure this area could be set up much more respectfully.
After Pictures: Under Loft Area
The Effects of the Change
The posting of the before pictures was really quite helpful. I got a lot of feedback from the listserv and everyone is VERY pleased with the outcome! we have achieved almost exactly what we were hoping to achieve with the remodel. The children are SO much more respectful of the whole space and use it well. I’ve noticed that boys are spending almost equal time there. The loft area is now used to read books quietly. Alot of the children will spend time just sitting and watching the “fire” in the fireplace. They also have a lot of “tea parties”. This was a great thing!
The New Look is Effective and Inexpensive.
The fabric is used by school age children and preschool children alike and is fun because it is so much more open ended than clothes would be. The trunk (holds dress up shoes) was purchased from the resale shop for a few dollars and was refinished. the ivy and the lighting on the ceiling is really enjoyed and respected by the children. The fabric was purchased this past summer by me while I was in Jamaica at a very good cost. The new carpeting cost $15. Altogether I think that the supplies for the “new look” for the area cost about $100 to $150.