Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Post to Fill the Time

It has been a while since I've received any photos from our families so I thought, while we wait, I would post about a few things that take place in the classroom that also happen at home.  This post is going to be devoted to hanging up a coat.

In an earlier post, I showed pictures of homes with low hooks on the wall to help a child be independent in putting away their outside wear.  It has come to my attention that some parents have gone a bit farther than hooks and have placed a dowel in  the hall closet at child height.  This means that coats can be hung on hangers.  Since this is how the children put their coats away in our classroom, I thought I'd take some pictures to show how the children actually do this.  My thanks go to K. who allowed me to photograph her going through the  steps required to hang up a coat.

Our cubbies (the top part) and lockers (the bottom part) were custom built to accomodate the children.  Each one is shared by two children and each child has two hangers.  (There are more available if needed but space is limited.)

The children begin by putting the coat on a table top or on the floor and spreading it out. In this picture, K. put her coat on the floor because the tables nearby were already being used.  Sometimes, the sleeves have to be pulled right-side-out and, depending on the development of the child, may be a place where an adult needs to help.

Once the coat is spread out, the child places a hanger on the label with the two ends aiming into the sleeves and the hook poking just above the collar.

The child then closes the coat - first one side, then the other.  I usually demonstrate this with one hand at the top of the zipper/buttons and the other at the bottom.  If a child just closes both sides at the same time, the sides either overlap or don't meet in the centre. This can make it more difficult to do up. 

 Once the coat is closed, the coat needs to be zipped or buttoned up.  Obviously, zippers need to start at the bottom but buttons may be started at either end.  Many children realize, after a few months, that if their coat has buttons, they only have to do up the top button. : )

Once the coat is done up, the child takes hold of the hanger's hook and lifts up the jacket.

The coat is now ready to be hung in the locker.

A few notes: 
-  Many zippers are extremely difficult for a child to get started. (I wrote about that in this post.)  Allow a child to try but be ready to step in with an offer of help if the child begins to get frustrated.  If your offer is accepted, only do up the zipper a little way so that they can finish the job themselves.
-  Be aware of a child's sense of order.  I once had a child get absolutely frantic when I showed him how to put his coat on the floor.  It became clear VERY quickly that in his house, coats did not belong on the floor - EVER.  I guided him to a table and we began again.
-  There will be times at home when a child says "You do it."  When my boys were little and this demand showed up, I would give the appearance of helping while really doing very little.  "Sure.  I'll hold the hanger while you get your coat ready."  or  "I'll start the zipper for you when the hanger is in the coat." 

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