Intentional Learning Spaces | Writing

Whether you are a classroom teacher, a homeschooler or a parent with kids at home, you can spark your child’s interest and inspire them to investigate the world around them through simple changes to your environment. As part of our series on designing intentional learning spaces, I will share how I have designed our space for learning in our home without a dedicated schoolroom. I will highlight ways to encourage intentional learning, creativity and independence through a few basic design qualities I have learned through my years as an educator. Today’s post will highlight how we encourage writing in our home and how we did a closet makeover to create an intentional space for writing.

Writing Center


It is my goal to share what I have learned in my years as an educator both in the classroom and at home. I want to be transparent. I am not a designer. I have not had any formal training is design. While my philosophy matches that of Reggio Emilia and Montessori, I have not been trained in either teaching method. I believe in the environment as a third teacher and that children are encouraged to spark their curiosity and intellect when they are presented with well designed spaces.

Thoughts About Designing a Writing Space

Writing is one of the most basic forms of expression for young children. Not only does it allow children to express what they have learned and how they see the world, it allows them to create worlds that do not exist any other place. Encouraging young children to write can begin at an early age, even before the age of one with fine motor games, prewriting strategies and surrounding children with a multitude of opportunities to use writing in their daily lives.

When writing is attatched to purposeful play, children are able to see value in it and are able to transfer their knowledge to paper. According to Reggio philosophy, children use documentation to share their thinking and  make sense of the world around them. It inspires them to be creative and ask questions and to document their findings.

Designing Your Writing Space for Intentional Learning

During each part of this series, I plan to share 4 simple steps to developing an intentional learning space. To learn more about general practices and my philosophy of education, you can read more on the landing page.

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When you think of the perfect writing space, what comes to mind? Is it a desk with all the proper materials? Is it a dedicated room or area for writing or is it more of an idea, a way of life? For us, writing is encouraged throughout our environment. Not only have we created a designated spot for writing, researching and learning; we have created invitations to use writing throughout the house. Similar to planning for a reading space, you want to think about the flow of the space and what your intentions are.

As always, I suggest starting with a blank slate. Empty the area and start to build your space. We started in the closet after realizing the boys were not using the closet very much and that it was not user friendly. We took everything out and drew out our dream writing space. We thought about the size of the children, the way we wanted the space to be used, and how we wanted them to be able to access the materials.

When setting up a writing space, you do not have to add in EVERY kind of writing paper and EVERY writing tool. Instead, start simple, rotate materials, and encourage a variety of writing experiences.

Closet Makeover Writing Center

Materials Needed to Simplify Your Writing Space:

  • Baskets
  • Organizers for Tools
  • Paper Organizers
  • A System for “Work in Progress” and “Completed Work”

Once you have gathered your baskets and organizers you are ready to fill your space with materials. If your space is free flowing and not attached to a dedicated place in your environment, you want to plan how the children will manipulate the writing materials? Where will they take them? How will they use them?


Materials for the perfect writing space can vary greatly depending on the age of the children, their interest and their ability levels. This writing area was designed for joint use between a first and third grader, but could easily be adapted to any primary grade writer and should be able to grow with the children as they mature and change interests.

Materials in a writing space should not simply be limited to materials FOR writing, instead materials that encourage writing.

Writing Area Materials

Things to consider when choosing your materials:

  • How old are the children using this area?
  • How will the materials be used?
  • What tools do they need to feel confident in writing?
  • What motivates your writers?
  • What system will you use for work in progress and finished work?

Materials for Your Writing Space:

  • Pens
  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Chalk
  • Stamps
  • Stickers
  • A variety of Writing Paper
  • Journals
  • Blank Boooks
  • Alphabet Letters
  • Sight Words
  • Picture Dictionaries



Loading a writing area or the environment with writing tools doesn’t necessarily encourage writing or invite children to become little writers. In order to invite children to writing, you have to make the writing meaningful and valuable to them. It takes thought and planning to plan invitations to write. Some children are naturally drawn to this form of expression, while others will need more direct guidance and help.

You can begin by creating a space that tells the children what they should do just by the placement of the materials. A well placed jar of letters next to some glue and sight word cards might imply you would like the children to create words with letters. An empty book placed beside new wooden stamps and bright colored pads would imply children should use the space to create books. Thinking of your “why” and your “intent” can help you place materials and design a space which will encourage children to use the writing materials for learning.

Inviting Writing Area Makeover

Materials to Make Your Writing Space Inviting:

  • Comfortable Chairs (We love our Bouncy Seats for movement)
  • Child Sized Desks
  • Small Bins/ Baskets  for writing utensils
  • A Chalkboard Painted Wall
  • Child Made Writing on the Wall

Tips to Making Learning Inviting:

  • Create purpose by placing items together for exploration
  • Address particular interests and needs of the children you are encouraging
  • Relate the writing tasks to daily life
  • Place all materials at the child’s level


As I have mentioned before, having amazing materials and creating an environment that encourages writing is not all you need to facilitate a love of writing. For some children this may come easy and others might need your help more. You could find yourself frustrated and feeling like all of it was not worth your time. It is incredibly important to scaffold the area so that all of the children can use the area, however it is okay to strategically model how to use some or all of the materials.

Encourage Writing Practice

Simple Ideas for Facilitating Writing:

  • Model the use of materials
  • Write a letter with your child
  • Make a joint book with your child
  • Add materials one at a time until they are “mastered”
  • Sit and write with your child
  • Make grocery lists and simple writing tasks together


As I mentioned before, this post is only a tiny slice of a larger series on learning spaces. I hope you will stick around and check out the series. Each day, I will share a different area of focus from reading to sensory.

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How do you plan for intentional learning in your writing space?  I would love to hear and see pictures! Please come connect with me on FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestInstagram or subscribe by email so you don’t miss what comes next in the Intentional Design Series!


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7 thoughts on “Intentional Learning Spaces | Writing”

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Thank you so so much!

  1. Missy

    Hi! I am loving your ‘Designing Spaces for Intentional Learning’ series. It is so so helpful. Thank you!!!!

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Thank you so much! I love hearing that!

  2. Love your writing space and all your ideas for motivating and engaging little ones to embark on the wonderful skill of writing.

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Thank you so much!

  3. Pingback: 25 Ways to get Organized for Back to School | True Aim Education & Parenting

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