Friday, March 15, 2013

Kindergarten and Preschool schedule/ ideas

A friend recently asked what I do all day with my girls because she was wanting to get an idea of pre-school for her older toddler. I thought I'd share my response here:
Our general schedule is very flexible -- I learned not to write specific times because nothing ever goes exactly as planned with so many little ones:
1. breakfast, clean up, get dressed
2. Breakfast notebooks -- I've made notebooks for the big girls with things they are working on: daily calendar counting, weather graph, tracing names and addresses, map tracing, numbers, shapes, colors, etc. Most of the pages I put in sheet protectors and they use dry erase markers everyday and then erase. My Kindergartener also has handwriting, phonics, and math worksheets. My toddler does any number of things during this time: drawing on our dry-erase board, puzzles, taking all the tops off our markers, etc
3. Classical Conversations review - I have a display board that I put their memory work for the week. My toddler actually likes to do this because it is mostly songs to go with each poster and they dance around and sing.
4. Outside time, lunch
5. Naps -- the big girls listen to books on CD for the first hour and then I do the eldest's reading lesson and practice while my toddler is still napping. If she naps long enough we do spelling on the dry erase board which they think is great fun (with my preschooler I usually just give letter sounds or blends and I help her write the letters)
6. Free play or outside time while I cook dinner.
7. eat dinner, clean up for Daddy, play with Daddy, bedtime routine
So that is the general routine (only about 3 days a week, really, because of CC co-op, our mommy playgroup, Sunday, and my husband's day off). My preschooler is at the point now where I write things with a highlighter and she traces it and will attempt a few letters but tires easily and that is fine. The early Bob books (Alphabet and Pre-reading skills) are great for toddlers as well. My girls always loved the tiny books with funny pictures so she might sit for those even if she is not that into reading. Also, my girls loved the Sound Box books by Jane Moncure and they were all at my library so you can probably request them here. You could get a couple a week and focus on those letters with your toddler if you wanted to. But honestly, I've found the easiest way to teach letters is by doing a letter puzzle with them. They learn it without even trying! And then just practice counting up and down in games like hide and seek and whenever you see multiple objects in books. And then just keep lots of books on hand and read as much as she will allow so it comes naturally when she is older. And thats all I can think of for the littles. They really don't need to know much and do too much schoolwork. I personally think playtime is very important at that age! The main thing you need to do is read, read, read to build her vocabulary. Since she doesn’t have a big attention span yet, use books as a transition... one or two before and after naps, mealtimes, playtimes, etc. It helps with the transition to different activities (which is difficult for that age) and soon her attention span will grow and she will be asking you to read more and more books at a time. And really, that is all she needs at this age. Nursery Rhymes are great at this age because it teaches them rhyme and meter. A lot of them don’t make a bit of sense, but the little ones love them, especially if you check out a book that is illustrated beautifully. Also, there is a Wee-Sing nursery rhyme Cd that my girls absolutely LOVE. It has made road trips so much easier and they have memorized tons of them effortlessly.