Tuesday, March 22, 2016

How to Preschool at Home....(start in the laundry room)

Preschool.  It's a big step for both kids and parents.  We've chosen to keep our kids at home for preschool.  It kind of makes sense considering we homeschool.  Lot's of reasons might have you thinking about preschool at home.  Distance, cost, impressionable minds, time.  Whatever your reason for keeping your kiddos home for preschool, rest assured, you can provide an excellent repertoire of preschool skills.  And I believe it can all begin in the laundry room.

Yes, you read that right.  Preschool in the laundry room.  Let me explain.

Moms spend a lot of time in the laundry room.  Instead of pushing the youngsters away to play so the work can be done quickly and efficiently (sounds nice, doesn't it?), why not include them.  Laundry becomes a time of teaching and learning, rather than just another mom chore.  The laundry folding may take longer, but for good reason.

What can be learned in the laundry room?

--matching socks
As I pull clothes from the dryer to fold, I let all the socks fall to the floor.  Maria lines them up waiting for its match.  Then she pushes one sock inside the other and hands them to me.  I always ask, "Who wears these?"  Then I place them on the right pile. (skill learned = matching)

--naming items 
For young beginners this is a great way to start incorporating preschool into the task of laundry.  Maria loves to reach into the dryer, grab something and then tell me what it is.  She'll say things like, this is a sock, this is a underwear, this is a hoodie, this is a pants.  It's so cute, especially as she starts using the correct subject/verb agreement (skill learned = vocabulary)

--identify owner of laundry
This is a favorite of Maria's.  We call it the "Who wears this?" game.  As I fold and she looks on, I say "Who wears this?"  She looks at each item and then yells out the rightful owner.  It's amazing how observant a two year old can be.  She knows everyone's socks and underwear and shirts and pants.  Sometimes she even catches me as I place socks on the wrong pile.  "No, mom, those are Joseph's." (skill learned = observation/memory)

--name colors
Another obvious preschool skill is learning colors.  This can be as complicated or simple as you want to make it.  Socks can be grouped by colors:  white, black, multi.  Clothes come in so many shades of colors, so it's very easy to expand on the simple sort.  Try lining up all the blue clothes from light to dark.  Or how about naming the colors of the clothes like a box of crayons.  light pink=carnation pink, dark blue=midnight blue, bright green=leprechaun green.  Older preschool age children love this and can get very creative in their color naming. (skill learned = colors, adjectives)

--practice math concepts
I like to incorporate math into folding towels and washcloths.  The simplest is to count the towels and washcloths, separately.  Which is more?  Or spread out a bath towel, hand towel and washcloth.  Let your child put them order from big to small.  How about geometry?  How many hand towels does it take to fully cover a bath towel?  Separate into squares and rectangles.  Joe, Peter, and Maria all love to fold washcloths.  Kitchen washcloths are folded in half.  Bathroom washcloths are folded in fourths.  Fractions don't have to be scary. (skill learned = counting, size relationships, fractions)

--caring for your home
A favorite job is always cleaning out the lint catcher.  I like to remind my kids that a job worth doing is a job worth doing well.  And doing it well means completing the task including the cleanup.

Preschool can be done at home without any extra materials, extra cost, or extra driving.  I've found that including my kids into my daily tasks I can provide them with opportunities to learn all the necessary preschool skills.  Laundry takes longer this way, but that's ok because soon enough they'll be on a plane to Ecuador and I'll be left to do laundry alone.  That last sentence doesn't make sense to you?  Emily is in Ecuador (that's 3,155 miles from here) and I'm feeling a bit like:

Where did the time go?

Wasn't she just 3 years old and folding washcloths and matching socks along side me?
Hold those little ones tight
And teach them skills so one day they can take flight.

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