Earlier this year, our curriculum focused a unit on clothing. To the casual passerby, it might seem like an unusual educational approach. After all, wouldn’t it be better to help preschoolers learn to count, learn the ABCs, learn colors, etc?
The reality is we use an educational approach that leverages everyday topics to teach children in a natural way, primarily using play as the pedagogical mechanism. Units such as clothing, farm-to-table food preparation, local heroes, simple machines, and others allow us to teach children in a way that is so fun, they don’t even know they’re learning…but they are!
Here are four specific reasons we chose to do a unit on clothing:
- Lots of Practical Lessons
A unit about clothing affords plenty of teachable moments. For example, we can use a topic such as hanging laundry (strips of fabric) to teach counting, color matching, and sensory learning (more on this below). Or, for example, we can use the playful idea of getting dressed to teach fine motor skills as well as topics related to design.
- Life Skills
Obviously we aren’t teaching preschoolers to actually do laundry or match up outfits, but we are introducing them to the basic building blocks behind these life skills. Later in school or at home when it is time to learn to do these tasks for themselves, children (or teenagers) will have a long-established base from which to build on.
- Sensory Learning
Exploring textures and working on pushing, pulling, squeezing, grasping, and wringing, and more allows us to to teach about the senses, by using the senses. Studies show that sensory play is important for development in preschoolers. Sensory learning helps children make sense of the world around them. If a goal of preschool is to prepare children to learn and succeed at the next level, sensory learning is essential. Children and even adults learn best and retain the most information when they engage their senses. In teaching about clothing, we’re establishing a learning framework that will help them succeed at the next level and throughout life.
- S.T.E.A.M. Learning
A proper education involves learning all of the STEAM areas. Our clothing unit allowed us to explore principles relating to science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and especially art — by exploring topics such as color and design.
At Dogwood Lane Children’s Academy, our goal is to combine the best of all educational methodologies (inspired by Montessori, Reggio, and others) to provide the best environment for Charlotte area children to thrive and prepare for school at the next level. Natural learning through everyday activities — including a unit on clothing — allows children the best opportunity to grow through play.