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
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?
The Many Faces of School-Age Care • 3