Pre-K students build homes… really!

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KALAMAZOO, Mich.  – Kids like to build. Whether it’s Legos or puzzles or those old wooden alphabet blocks, they simply love to get creative. And no group of kids know that better than the pre-kindergarten students at Kazoo School on Cherry Street. They’ve been studying the concept of the home and actually built a few themselves.

“We started with a basic cereal box and we talked about foundations of a home and how you build a foundation,” said Lysa Vander Wal, teacher and director at Kazoo School. “The children picked their own colors of paint to use to paint their house.”

The cereal boxes were outfitted with doors, windows and the kids used their fingertips to make shingles. They then displayed their miniature homes during a special event called Parade of Homes and invited their parents and Habitat for Humanity to check them out.

“It’s a learning experience for them,” said Ann Kilkuskie, director of community relations for the Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity. “In a pre-K environment, most students learn through playing and exploration. And that’s what they’re doing in their classroom.”

According to Vander Wal, the students have been learning about the concept of the home since the beginning of the school year. They’ve studied what houses look like in Kalamazoo and around the world. They also read the book Castle on Viola Street to help them learn about families who struggle with housing accommodations.

“It was about a family that didn’t have a home,” said Vander Wal. “It needed to be fixed up and about a project from an organization that helped build houses and fixed up homes for families that needed them. So we just felt like that tied in really nicely with having Habitat for Humanity here today.”

While learning about houses, the kids raised $150 for Habitat For Humanity by doing chores at their individual homes.

“Habitat’s mission or vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live,” said Kilkuskie. “And obviously that’s a universal message that even pre-k students can understand.”

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