The domestic arts are an essential part of life at home and a significant part of our lives with the children at Lifeways We rhythmically navigate through our days, punctuated by the practical tasks at hand such as baking, cooking, laundry and cleaning. When asked what it is that children learn and gain from this type of environment, there are many answers. Of course they learn some of the things that are categorized in mainstream childcare and educational systems, such as counting, sequencing, small and large motor skills. Children learn to count their friends to set the table, they develop small motor skills in folding laundry and helping chop fruits and veggies for snack, have a science lesson in planting a garden.
What intrigues me most about providing a home like environment which invites the children into a larger communal effort, is something that goes deeper than anything that can be measured or quantified. What it gives to the children is an opportunity to be not only part of, but a contributing part of the community. This speaks to the children, not only in their development of mind and body, but in their developing sense of personhood. If offers the sense of satisfaction it gives us as humans to be a part of something, to have something to contribute, to be of value. When the children in our suite help with folding the laundry, their experience is much more than folding corner to corner, stacking likes with likes. The experience for the children, in their heart I believe, is that of being a helper, of pride and appreciation.
Thanks to all of our families for being a part of this wonderful community.