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Shared-space programs are often located in school cafeterias, librar- ies, or other large rooms such as this one. These large spaces offer ample room for many activities to take place at one time, but reducing noise and softening the institu- tional appearance can be challenging. Photo 1.2 On the plus side, however, shared space can offer access to additional areas where children can experience different types of activities. Explore the options that exist in your building. Consider using an indoor gym or large-motor space for needed physical activities on a cold or rainy day. A cafeteria provides a clean and safe space for food preparation and serving snacks. A library can provide a quiet place for studying and doing homework. Children can access ref- erence materials, computers, and reading materials for informa- tion and enjoyment. While shared spaces can be trying at times, with flexibility and planning they can provide a variety of areas to expand your program spaces. Perhaps one of the most daunting challenges in shared Photo 1.3 spaces is the need to set up the environment and take it down daily. How do you turn a blank space into an eye-catching, welcoming envi- ronment where children want to be? The good news is that school-age chil- dren are very energetic and willing to help, so let them. With a little creativity and help from the children, the transformation can be quick and painless. To create a setup plan, answer these questions: • What items in the space can be moved? • What items need to be added for the afterschool program? • What are your storage options for the items you would like to add? With the use of porta- ble furniture dividers, the space in this room has been distributed so many activities can occur at one time. By using lightweight furniture or furniture with locking wheels, the room can be arranged and rearranged easily and quickly. • Where is the water source for drinking, hand washing, and preparation and cleanup of snacks and projects? COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL The Many Faces of School-Age Care • 3