I have received a few comments and emails with some terrific questions regarding defined work spaces for preschoolers. I thought that I would write up a small post about this in hopes of giving a thorough response to your great questions!
In a preschool setting, or even within the home, it is important to give our children defined work spaces to create within during activity time. There are several reasons why a defined work space is important, the first being that it teaches respect and accountability. In a Montessori classroom children are given floor mats to define their space. This is to reinforce Montessori's principle of "freedom within limits." Students are shown to walk around the mats as to not disturb another child's work and they are taught to respect the work space of others. Children learn that they are responsible for their own work space, they set up their mat and they must be certain that their space is cleaned before they move on to another activity. The same rule applies within the home, your child is responsible for their space and they must honor the work space of others.
Having a defined work space also helps children to feel secure. We know that children thrive when they are understand their limitations and they feel a strong security when there is a routine set forth in day to day activities. Allowing your child to consistently maintain and work within their own space is comforting to them.
Lastly, a somewhat selfish reason that I love a defined work space, is that it helps us to remember our place during creative time. When Biscuit is set up in her space I do a far better job of keeping a "hands-off" approach. I think it is safe to say that giving your child a defined work space assists you in demonstrating trust in your child's ability to work independently.
I hope that I have shed a bit of light on why I try to define a work space for my daughter. If you have any other questions please feel free to comment below!!