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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

This is the way we go to school...

Lately, my son has been obsessed with "going to school." He wants to ride on the school bus when it comes through the neighborhood and pretends to put on his "school backpack." Admitedly, some part of me is sad about this since I a) don't want him to want to leave me and b) I am not quite sure how I feel about what is going on behind the doors of most institutional schools these days.

The time has come where people have started to question on a regular basis when he will be starting preschool and, lately, I have been questioning what is best for our family, now and in the future. But, for the time being, we will keep learning on the table on the back porch {and the kitchen table, living room floor and in the garden dirt.}

We will make sure that we take time to have a little snack break together...

We will utilize the vast amount of resources around us to supplement the learning that simple play provides.
{I have compiled some of my favorite preschool learning resources below!}

We will use our hands to learn new skills...
{I found these lacing boards-2 in a set for $1 at Micheals!}

And {at the top of the importance list}, I will show my son that adults continue learning, no matter their age or circumstances.
{Sarah Vowell is my new favorite author and I am only a few chapters into this snarky look at the early American Puritans...according to reviews, this isn't even her best book but it is rocking my world!}

Favorite preschool learning resources:

Where we started:
for 2-4 years olds and literature based...this website has SEVERAL curriculum levels for older/most advanced kiddos. They even have activities, books, and ideas of super early learning with babies.

What we mostly utilize now:
Tot School Lap Books and Tot Trays
Lap Books are based on "unit learning": picking a theme your kid is interested in and learning different skills/subjects based on that theme. For example, we have done a lapbook unit on Big Trucks and Farm Animals, among others. We pick out library books that focus on the theme to read during the week (or longer, if the interest lasts.)
Tot trays are Montessori-inspired skill learning activities. If you have one near you, Micheals has a good supply of inexpensive supplies for tot trays and you can join their parent/teacher program (the Knack) and get extra coupons.

What we look forward to using:
First School (not a program but has TONS of resources)
Lap book resources for older kids/themes
Sonlight Parent's Companion (literature based, non-scheduled preschool program)

A note on mainsteam resources: I tend to {strongly} dislike licensed characters (Disney Princesses, Dora/Diego, etc.) but mostly because I think they are over-marketed and I don't want to be asked to buy stuff every time I go to the store. However, I believe strongly that the best learning at this age is done through play. And, frankly, Nick Jr. and Disney employ some very smart educators and their websites offer some good, fun, educational resources.

Do you have any favorite early learning resources and programs? Do share!


Janna said...

Great post! I will be utilizing those links very soon. We never intended to send our boys to preschool and I've received so many judgemental comments about that. It's just that we're cheap and I'm very confident in my ability to teach my boys anything they need to know before kindergarten. Oh and I like hanging out with them (usually!:)

love said...

i love this & have starred it in my reader so i can visit these links later! thank you!!

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