Home corner

The HOME CORNER is often the first port of call

One of the most popular areas of the pre-school is the home corner. 

Children feel comfortable in the home corner because it’s a familiar space.  There’s a cooker, sink and washing machine, as well as crockery, pans, keys, phones and all the little bits and pieces that enable them to act out home experiences…or, in other words, pretend to be you!  So, what are they learning?

Firstly, we are making sense of what they know.  Copying what they have seen at home, using familiar speech and language, collaborating, resolving conflicts, asserting themselves, caring for others and sometimes wanting to be the one who is cared for.  In the same way that adults might think things through in their heads, children will act things out.  They are developing their thinking skills by recalling experiences and practising the skills needed to recreate those experiences. 

Parents often worry that their child isn’t playing with other children but this tends to take off in the year before they go to school.  Prior to that, children usually play alongside others, engrossed in their own play and gradually taking more of an interest in other children.  At this point it will probably be adults they choose to play with.  Being offered a ‘cuppa tea’ by a child shows that they want to invite you into their world and, importantly, that they trust you. 

Most days at pre-school there will be somebody in the home corner making a phone call, putting the baby to bed or piling every bit of tea-set into the sink.  As children do this, they will be talking.  When you are learning a new skill (talking), you want to practice it somewhere you feel relaxed and comfortable - safe in the knowledge that if you get it wrong, it doesn’t matter.  The home corner is perfect.

As their speech and language skills improve, so children will feel more confident about engaging in play with other children.  The year leading up to school will be all about ‘friends’ and making up games together – picnics, shopping, school, parties etc.  There may be lengthy negotiations about who is mummy or daddy and who is the younger sister or brother!  Good negotiating skills will be an asset later on.

Take a peek in our home corner and you will notice it is stocked with ‘real things’.  There is a china tea-set, metal cutlery, wooden bowls and plates, plus real keys and phones.  Generally speaking, children take better care of real things.  They hold more value for children and it makes their play seem real.  It’s also good for children to handle different materials and to feel the varying weights and textures. 

So the home corner is a pretty special place where lots of important life skills are being learned.





A home corner does not need to be fancy or expensive.  It’s easy to make a washing machine or doll’s bed out of a cardboard box.  A lick of paint will transform an old bedside cabinet into a cooker; just add an old pan, wooden spoon, tea towel etc.  Children can make ‘food’ out of anything – wool, playdough, leaves, pebbles or you could make some out of saltdough.  This approach doesn’t just save you money; it encourages children to use their imagination and to be problem solvers. 

 Enrich the play by commenting on what they are doing and by introducing new words.  If you want to ask questions, ask ones you don’t know the answers to.  It will encourage your child to think and you might get more than a one word answer.  Put yourself in their place, if you were cooking lunch would you want someone asking you what colour the peas were?  But you might be interested in talking about who was coming to lunch and what you were going to do afterwards.