What is the Spark Station Again? (Magical learning space)

by Mary Ann on March 7, 2011

The Spencer’s Spark Station – a beautiful dresser

In recent weeks, as we have finished up the pilot, I have been reviewing the surveys the participants took. A couple of things seem important to address.

1.  “I think I was on about lesson 5 before I really understood what the Spark Station is.” Right up front I say “So what is the definition of the Spark Station? Simply put, it is a space where parents have put items that they think will inspire their children to further exploration and learning.”

Hmmmm, not enough I guess. So let me say it differently. The Spark Station is a tool you can create. It can be an actual closet space or it can be a box, a dresser or any other place you can put interesting items to inspire your children. It is not the same as a storage space where you keep all of your learning materials and craft items. Its purpose is to create a time and place when your children will be exposed to new and interesting ideas that will help them love learning. It is managed in a specific way to create a sense of anticipation for your children.

2. “It would be really helpful to see some pictures of Spark Stations so I can get an idea of what we are talking about.” That is a good idea. The blog is sprinkled with all kinds of Spark Station pictures but I will put them all here in one place. I will also add some pictures of places we have educational items that are not our Spark Station, to give you an idea of the different educational spaces you  may have in your home.

The Jones Spark Station – some shelves in a cupboard

I think an advantage of this is that you will get a very clear idea that just about anything can work as a Spark Station. Where it is, is not the most important thing, as long as it is within easy reach of where you have your structured family learning time.

Also you will see the varied contents of each persons Spark Station. What you put in it is also not the most important thing.

I won’t go into it at length but it bears repeating, the most important thing about the Spark Station are the Five Rules of Engagement. If you want real success then learn what they are and begin practicing them!

mini library learning space pictures

Part of the Jones library and part of the Jones “any time” learning space

craft cupboard creation box picture

Johnson’s craft cupboard and “creation box”, not part of the Spark Station

Johnsons closet pictures

Johnson’s “before ” and “after” Spark Station (a hall cupboard)

Jodies closet

Palmer’s first Spark Station. The kids are growing up and now they use a free standing Spark Station

Jarvis Phantom tollbooth picture

The Jarvis “before” Spark Station and the Jarvis “after” Spark Station

The Pates Closet picture

The Pate’s spillover containers that are part of their Spark Station and their main Spark Station

The Garretts Closet picture

The Garrett’s “after” Spark Station where they have “lots of fun” and the Garrett’s Spark Station before she learned how to make it work

The Robbins Closet picture

(inset) The Robbins Spark Station and the Robbins “lock” – Be creative in problem solving

Martineau Closet picture

The Martineau’s Spark Station “before” and the Martineau’s Spark Station “after”

Jones Closet picture

The R. Jones Spark Station before she learned how to make it work and her second try. She needed to change her containers. Children need to see content and there needs to be color. 

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