Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Preschool - getting started

Last fall I started a little preschool group with some of the moms and kids in our neighborhood. We meet twice a week for about an hour (often longer so the kids can play and we can visit). We spent the fall learning the alphabet - more on that coming soon! - and since then we've done shapes, our bodies, seasons, and more. It's a lot of fun, and we keep it pretty low key. The idea is to help the kids learn routines, structure, and social skills, and to learn through play. We do lots of hands-on activities and games, and just like to have fun.

Here is the basic schedule we follow every day:

Welcome Song
Story Time
Play Time
Clean Up

I bought one of those hanging pocket things at the Dollar Spot at Target (love that place! that's where I got a lot of our preschool stuff) and it fits perfectly - just the right size and right number of pockets! We just have a little star that we move down the chart as we get to each activity.

Here's a link to print your own!

Let me outline what a typical preschool day looks like, to show you how simple it is!

We have the kids each sit on a carpet square (you can get them for like $1 at a carpet store), then start with a welcome song to (hopefully) get the kids' attention and signal that we're ready to start.

For calendar, we have the kids repeat the day/date with us, and put stickers on the calendar for that day.

We have a little weather chart, and have the kids point to what the weather's like and talk about it. (We just printed and laminated the one I linked to, but there are tons of cute ideas for making your own if you're feeling more crafty/ambitious!)

Story time is reading a book that introduces and teaches or goes with the topic we're learning about that day. We will usually tell them a little about our topic before reading. (e.g. Today we're learning about the letter A. Apple starts with A [point to the A], and this book is all about apples!)

Activity should really be labeled "Activities" because we often have more than one. We almost always do some sort of art/craft activity - coloring, gluing, tracing, etc. something that teaches more about the topic we're learning. And we also often do some type of more interactive activity or game - a matching game, Simon Says, a science experiment, sorting things, sensory activities, etc.

(Just a few of the arts/crafts activities we've done)

Play time is just that! By the time we finish our activities, most of them are a little restless to just do their own thing (even when the activities are more active) so we let them just get out the toys and play for a bit, or go outside if the weather's nice.

Sometimes for snacks we do something that goes with the theme or topic of the day (when we're feeling ambitious or it lends itself more easily to that, like apple slices for the letter A), but often we don't. The kids don't really seem to care either way!

One of my more "ambitious" snacks - we had learned about healthy bodies that day, so I made a face out of healthy snacks 

It really can be so simple! The kids enjoy it, and are learning from it, and we don't have too much stress in planning and executing the lessons. I've outlined all our units so far, and will be posting those soon!

So if you're thinking of doing preschool at home with your little one, my suggestion is to keep it simple and keep it fun. Don't stress too much about having a perfect "pinterest worthy" lesson every day. The kids enjoy it even if their art projects don't turn out as perfectly as you'd hoped or the game you planned devolves into chaos (or the cute picture you tried to take turned out blurry cuz your kid won't hold still - see below!) The most important thing is that you're engaged and investing in their learning process, and showing them that learning is important and fun!

1 comment:

  1. This post warms my little mom/kindergarten teacher heart! Love all of it! Great work!