Wednesday, February 12, 2014

PreK Curriculum

Check out my post on Choosing Curriculum to help you narrow down the choices!

Zoe just turned 4 and loves to "do school" with her sisters. She gets very upset if I don't devote time to her learning and instead place my focus on her older sisters for the start of our school day. While I don't necessarily agree that kids should sit and do seatwork all day I have purchased several inexpensive preschool and even kindergarten workbooks to keep Zoe busy when she wants to do seatwork. Which is all the time! It has become a normal part of our lives so she expects it... and enjoys it! I am meeting her where she is at and right now she is loving her workbooks. She gets so excited when one arrives in the mail!

We buy a lot of them from the dollar store and since we have Amazon Prime I purchase a lot via Amazon with free shipping. Here are some other things we do for preschool.

-Fingerplays! Brush up on The Itsy Bitsy Spider and Teddy Bear Teddy Bear and Five Little Monkeys... you'll have your little one begging you to sing them over and over and over and OVER again with the hand motions!

-Play catch. Large motor skills are just as important as small motor skills. Make soft beanbags to toss in bright colors or crumple up aluminum foil into a ball. Adding color and texture increases learning. Grab the laundry basket and try to toss into the basket!

-Speaking of laundry... have your child help sort and fold. It doesn't have to be perfect. They learn value in hard work and being a member of a family.

-Dress up. There's nothing quite like putting on a costume and using that imagination. Which brings me to my next activity...

-Don't toss the box! You just had a purchase arrive on your doorstep in a box. Keep the box and let your child color it, practice scissor skills (supervised of course) and depending on the size create a diorama or spaceship or whatever! We toss ours as soon as the kids destroy it, which may be within the first hour, ha!

-Our favorite is our Sorting Pie!
-Another fave for sorting are Counting Bears.
-For small motor fun find large hole beads (craft department) and shoe strings (shoe department) or purchase a ready-made kit like THIS ONE.

Not everything needs to have a cost. Many things you can use around the house. Preschool and Kindergarten are fun. Don't focus so much on curriculum or workbooks. If you want your child to do some seatwork just print freebies online and have them trace alphabet letters or write your own dotted letters for them to trace. If your child wants workbooks and you can afford them go ahead and splurge! I never saw a child suffer from wanting and getting to do workbooks, LOL! If they WANT to do it then don't hesitate. If they aren't interested now is not the time to force it. You'll all be miserable if you force an energetic 3-year-old child to sit still and copy letters over and over.

Focus on what does interest them! You can teach them math without them even knowing it if the topic is about their favorite superhero or current obsession (dinosaurs, kitties, etc.). Line up your son's race cars in a pattern or make a math equation with them. "You have ten cars. If you give me five of them how many do you have left?" Then help them count out how many are left.

And of course... READ. Read, read and then read some more. Read to them, have them "read" to you, point out words, ask questions for comprehension. Reading is the gateway to other subjects. Build a strong foundation for reading when they are young. You won't ever regret that or the valuable time spent cuddling with them and diving into worlds of make believe.

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