There are several real-life activities that children experience on a routine basis at Open Door. Each class has a “gardening day,” a “woodworking day,” and a “cooking day.” Parent volunteers or an additional staff member help supervise children in the classroom, allowing one of the teachers to take small groups to the garden, woodshop, or kitchen.
Our garden is adjacent to the playground closest to the building. Each class has a bed assigned to them each year, and the class together decides what to plant. The children take turns caring for the garden.
Our woodshop has long been one of the more unique and sought-after aspects of our program. Children are sequentially introduced to real tools and move at their own pace as they learn how to hammer nails, saw, drill, and use the vice. Due to diligently following safety guidelines, children have been successful and safe in their work.
Cooking is a great opportunity for parents to volunteer in a hands-on way, because often the parent volunteer leads the cooking project (under the supervision of teachers). Cooking can be as simple as spreading butter on toast or as complex as cooking a stew with multiple ingredients, depending on the children’s ages, developmental levels, and interests.