Dressing Up for Learning

By February 19, 2009 In the News No Comments

There are a lot of things that I remember from kindergarten, but one of the most memorable things from that school year was my teacher dressing up like Mother Goose and reading up some nursery rhymes. Our teacher sat in a rocking chair and rocked slowly, reading the rhymes and you could have heard a pin drop anywhere else in the classroom. Something about wearing a costume made the experience so much more dramatic and so much more magical that it ever could have been otherwise.


When reading any classic works to children, a costume sets up the occasion as one that is an important moment that is fun as well as entertaining. Many teachers choose to wear costumes when they read certain works to their classes. A work like The Wizard of Oz, Little House on the Prairie, the Wind in the Willows or Mary Poppins is a work that is crying out for a great costume.

Kids these days tend to be very visual, thanks to so many hours spent watching TV and playing video games. Often, being read to can make their minds wander. But when the reader has something that is bright and cheerful to look at while the book is being read, it can hold the kids’ attentions that much better. I remember not being able to look away and wondering if may, just maybe, it really was Mother Goose who was actually reading the book that day.

For parents who homeschool, having a costume on hand can transform their parent from just being a parent into being a part of what the kids are learning. Some days it can be hard for a homeschooling parent to separate themselves from their normal parenting role and to get into the role of a teacher. On those days, throwing on a costume can make that change more than obvious. It transforms a normal school day into one that is special and memorable.

For kids, dressing up in a costume that is inspired by a book they are reading is a fun way of getting inside a character. It can help them to learn more about the time they are reading about or to ponder the way the character thinks and feels. This can be en effective teaching tool, especially when a book is about another time period. It helps kids to feel more a part of what they are learning, and isn’t that a big part of what we want them to learn? I wish we’d had more occasions for costume time during my school days. Perhaps I would have a lot more memories from my earliest school days if we had.