I recently heard of a local school that removed all the play kitchens from the kindergarten rooms - because that didn't teach literacy. This news made me unhappy. I love using the home center...and so do my kids.
I considered the various responses to this news that I could list here on Brick by Brick.
1. Kids need to learn lots of different skills in their early years. Literacy is only one of them.
2. A place like home center helps build security in young children.
3. Learning about the community and their roles in it is valuable for kids.
...and so forth.
But I decided to think about ways that that a play kitchen could support literacy. And I looked through my photos to see what I could find.
Add books to read to the dolls. And help kids understand that books are a regular part of family life.
A cookbook or recipe cards help extend cooking activities. And help kids know how reading and writing support life skills.
Paper and pencils allow kids to take notes while on the telephone. And help them better understand practical uses of writing.
Paper, envelopes, and writing implements allow kids to practice communicating in written form.
Clipboards with paper and pencils with the doctor kit aids kids in understanding the use of reading and writing in occupations.
Grocery store ads, notepads, pencils, and sticky notes help support how writing is used throughout the community.
Using food boxes brings familiar words from a child's world into the classroom. And encourages a child to "read" these words.
Playing bookstore reinforces literacy in the child's life and the community.
Add notepads and pencils to encourage spontaneous writing.
Pencils and paper among the tools allows children to experiment writing in real world situations.
These are just a few things that support literacy that I found among my photos. And I think that these "practical" uses of writing and reading are strong foundations for literacy in a kindergarten class...and ample reason to keep those kitchens in the classrooms.