Wednesday, August 29

(un)Preschool

  I love to plan and teach.  In some ways, it is like I plan school for two kids, but it is really quite different too.  While Jonah has 'required skills', Rowan is rarely (if ever) directed.  But, because the space we are working in is small it means that what I provide for him to work and play with is, of course, directive in another sense.  

I dug the wooden train set out of our boxes from Scotland (which are currently living in my parents garage) and Rowan has played with them for hours in the school room this week.  He also has My First School Book from Handwriting without Tears, a slate, and a Stamp and See Screen.  So far he chooses to use one of these to draw and color most days.  He likes sitting on his stool and 'doing school with Jonah'.  He also has a nature journal to draw in and some curriculums like History, Science and Bible have fun activities that he eagerly joins.  He also hears the music, literature, and French.  I've been surprised when he pops in with a french answer while playing with trains - oh, little brains are amazing sponges!
Here is some of the other work that Rowan can chose while in the school room.
A sensory tray.  I always love the sensory trays on montessori blogs, but so often they are full of plastic trinkets and beads, which aren't really my thing.  I looked for some wooden cut outs of bugs, but was unsuccessful.  My mom bought these bugs in a tube.  Everything else on the tray was collected within ten feet of our school room - sticks, moss, bark, grain, leaves, grass, ivy, and wildflowers.  Surprisingly it is still playable after a week, though it is all a little dry.
Libraries are awesome!  Our library downtown has themed backpacks you can check out for preschoolers.  Each one has several books, a couple puzzles, and song/game sheets.  I can't tell you how excited I was when I found the them.  The boys have both enjoyed the puzzles and books.  I hope to try out some songs tomorrow.
Counting cards.  Mom had these insect counters downstairs and I made simple counting cards.  Note: I showed Rowan how to do these when he asked, but he hasn't used them since. 
I had a photo of this movable alphabet in our first school post of the year.  This was our big expense for Rowan this year.  While in Switzerland he was given Curious George Learns the Alphabet and he has fallen in love with letters.  So, when I went to plan school for the year I decided that these would be a great investment.  I'm sure that I'll have Jonah using them for spelling too.

I made the cards by simply tracing the letters in the word I wanted and drawing the bugs (please don't notice the eight legs on the ladybug - I made these very late one night :o)  I love that this is a way he can chose to play with letters if he wants too, but it is independent work and he can chose to play with them in many ways (stacking, sorting, making designs...)

5 comments:

Lisa said...

This is great. I love how you drew the theme together. Also, your homemade Montessori letter using version of the M&D See and Spell. Great idea. :)

Jenny said...

Oh my goodness, I love your term (un) preschooling. I just might have to borrow that! :) Our Kian does the same thing as your son! He has a similar letter box, but not as neat as yours. Its the Melissa and Doug one that came with a few words for him to place the letters into, like a puzzle. Thank you so much for the idea of tracing them to make more words for him! I would have never thought of this. We do the sensory tubs too and I'm with ya mama.....hate the plastic montessori ones. I've made a few and ours always have wooden toys in them. Harder to organize, but I just can't get out of my non plastic ways I guess. ;) And OH MY WORD!.....I wish our library had preschool backpacks! Those are amazing! I've thought about making little bags of our own as they'll go through a few kids, but storage is always the issue....as is gathering the wide variety of things. Thank you thank you for your inspirations that I will add to Kian's days (counting cards). I should post on his (un) preschooling activities soon b/c how helpful to show and share ideas!

suewatkins said...

As always I am amazed at your creativity and how fun you make learning. Thanks for telling about what Rowan is up to. Love the story about the French answer. I bow down in admiration ! Love you.

Watkins said...

Jenny, I hope you do share what (un)preschool activities you do with Kian. I'm always keen to have more inspiration.

Laura Wingard-Plank said...

Love the fun of all your school activities. I notice that you are utilizing my preschool bug counters from when I taught and I think I have the companion pattern cards, etc with the bugs pictured at my house so I'll try to remember to lend them to you since I obviously am not using them with Liliana yet since I haven't brought the counters home from Mom's! OOOOh, I love preschool age and I love manipulatives of every kind!