Tuesday, 8 October 2013

"Cwtch" - "koja" - The cozy corner or den...

Being off work sick has given me a little time to really browse and read lots more than usual... as I simply don't have the enrgy to do anything else...

I came across Community Playthings' post about "cwtch" - a Welsh word to mean a loving cuddle or a cozy place to feel safe. It got me thinking about if I could pull together a set of inspirational photos of various "cwtch" (or koja in Swedish, rhymes with soya) to share. It is important to provide spaces for young children to find respite from the numbers, noise and busy-ness of everyday preschool life - and of course it opens up another dimension of play where there is just one or a few children playing together in a more secretive manner with a feeling of autonomy.

So without a further ado - here come the photos...

a small cozy corner created out of a big tube The Acorn School, Boulder

small cozy areas can be created outside like this at The Acorn School in Boulder. The great part of using material is that they can be placed anywhere and can be changed to meet the needs of the children - small an intimate or maybe a little larger for a few more friends to join in

At Boulder Journey School material was hung up from the ceiling and by using bulldog clips the walls could be moved and the space transformed to make one room or more, to change the shape and size of the den.

a small space at the side of the room allows children to experiemnt and explore with a safe feeling but at the same time feeling included as it opens out into the room and there is a window onto the hall...

the older children at BJS also had small spaces for them to explore in - here the low ceiling naturally lends itself to a cozy corner and the sherr material creates a feeling of intimacy.

this is my son's cozy corner - it's where he goes to when everything becomes overwhelming - here it all feels less big. The bottom shelf now has various manipulatives for him to squeeze and destress with, but usually he just sits there to find his inner peace. Sadly schools cannot always provide a small area for children to retreat to despite its importance.

cardboard boxes create wonderful den opportunities - here my children have designed small eye windows that can be open and closed, and door on pipe-cleaner hinges and a small shelf held on with pipe-cleaner threaded through the wall of the box. Then it was time to sit in there and decorate until there was no space to decorate left..

at Täppan Preschool in Stockholm there was a small space in every group room - and this was a part of both play and also designed as a language development aid. The children were encouraged to go into the language den once a week with a teacher just on the outside jotting down whatever the child had to say - either as an answer to a question or if the child had something to share about what had happened at home etc... by saving the documentation of what the children have been saying the teachers and parents are able to see their child's language journey.

Täppan utilised spaces well to create small play spaces for the children... here is a small room under the stairs - I had to bend at a 90° angle to be in this room.

here Täppan have converted a small closet into a stable inspired play area with up and downstairs play areas.

nature is very good at providing dens and hidey-holes. I never venture into these unless I am invited.

the fairy land we created as part of the International Fairy Tea Party celebration also has become a den...

under the table and protected by the silver material there are always traces of children's play - I have noticed that it is usually the same small group of children that use it the most.

The big outdoor playground at Heworth CE School in York, UK, created a small area for children to participate in calmer activities

another area at BJS where the children can explore in a small area while still being a part of the group - there are also windows onto the hall and the adjacent toom
back to my son's room - we elevated his bed so that we could create space for him underneath for play - often we put a blanket across the front to create a room within a room.

elevated play spaces allow for play both under and on top in small intmate ways - like this one at Garden Gate Child Development Center

If you would like some inspiration for outdoor den making then check out this document by Muddy Faces

Let the Children Play have more den and quiet space inspiration here and here

1 comment:

  1. i am impressed your this picture..i like it this pictures....

    Thanks for sharing this pictures........

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