Friday, January 6, 2012

Put your coat on, Bro!

If you are a preschool teacher, you will know how frustrated it can be sometimes to get the children ready to go outside.. especially during winter when they need to be so well wrapped up. Some of the older children are more than capable of  putting their own coat on and zipping it up ; and they even help the younger ones to dress up. Yet, many are still struggling with this aspect of our routine.
Most parents are aware of the importance of teaching their child to be independent, but still do far too much for their children. And I am a guilty mother too! How many hours have I spent performing unnecessary tasks for my own children because it was quicker for me to do it? I often ended up feeling exhausted, drained and often resentful. And this can happen in our classroom too. If we spent too much time snacking for instance, we are sometimes rushing to get out and get a bit of fresh air and it is easier and quicker to dress the kids up. So I have been thinking a lot during this Xmas break. One of the main aspects of our curriculum is to teach the children self -reliance and to boost their self-esteem. Not doing a great job here in that department, are we?All the children need is to be given the tools to be independent. They need a strategy as well as the time and opportunity to try to do things for themselves. I need to show patience and to encourage them to be patient too. It takes practice to master any new skill, and for a toddler, it may take many tries for success. A 3 year old should learn to put his/her own coat and hat on but might not be able to fasten it up. A 4 to 5 year old should also be able to put on his scarf and gloves on all alone.

So this is what I have prepared.
Sasha on To the Lesson, has created a series of signs she posted by the children's cubbies to help them get dressed during those long winter months (see her post right here). This inspired me. So I copied her idea and I made an eye-catching little poster for the children to follow. It is now on the wall in the entrance where the children have their clothes hangers.

I also browsed the internet and found a simple but catchy little song that we will be rehearsing every time it is time to dress up. I have added the video below (it is from  ).

Put your coat on, put your coat on
And keep yourself nice and cosy
Put your coat on, put your coat on
And come on out to play

(Repeat with hat, scarf and gloves).

Of course, I will also be giving them the tools to be independent. According to Montessori, learning to put on one's own jacket not only develops independence but also muscular co-ordination. This can be an individual or a group exercise. Tell the child(ren) that you are going to show him/them how to put on a jacket. Take your own coat and lay it flat on the floor, making sure it is open. Stan by the collar side of the coat, place your 2 arms in the sleeves and swing back both arms together so that the coat slides into position. Then, you invite the child(ren) to go and get their own jackets and let them have an individual turn at putting on their jacket. Look at this video I found on You Tube. This is exactly what I am talking about:

What do you think? What do you do in your classroom? 

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