This past year was a wonderful and laid back time for our family. The days were easy and slow, and the girls transformed from babies to toddlers. Now as Amelie is entering into her preschool age and is as busy as can be (Penny following not far behind), I think we are ready to implement a little bit more of a routine when it comes to â€œhomeschooling.â€ Â Now, what I’ve mapped out is not strict and is extremely simple and flexible. I believe at this age time to play and explore is most important, but with just a bit of planning, I hope to create a more intentional learning environment. To help figure out what I want to focus on in regards to schooling with each of the girls I did a little reflection on the developmental milestones that they have reached and noted what I would like to work towards.
Based on the developmental milestones supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the following are goals we will be working towards (include cognitive, language, play/social, and motor skills)
Amelie – 2 Â½ yrs
-encourage more reading
-everyday skills (washing hands, getting dressed, potty training!)
-understand basic concepts (time, shapes/sizes, colorsâ€¦)
-point to body parts
-sort objects/match colors
-use â€œIâ€ â€œyouâ€ + â€œmeâ€ properly
Penelope – 16 months
-follow simple instructions
-point to things or pictures when they are named
-says simple sentences
-begins to sort objects
-names items in a book
-complete sentences and rhymes in familiar books.
The teacher in me loves to use themes when it comes to education, especially when you are repeating and revisiting the same or similar concepts. Themes are a great way to foster an environment for imagination and it helps make learning exciting, especially at the preschool age. The use of themes is also a great way to connect life experiences to learning. As you can probably tell, I was that teacher that always had a theme going on in the classroom each month and worked it throughout the curriculum.
I have 12 themes planned, 1 for each month. Throughout the next 12 months, I will be incorporating the following concepts throughout each theme. Focusing on these concepts will be the guide in the development of basic vocabulary and understanding children pick up in their early ages.
January – Big and Little (focusing on potty training and transitioning from a little to a â€œbigâ€ girl)
February – Friendship and Acts of Kindness
March – Plants and Flowers
April – Weather
May – New Baby (alternative, 5 senses)
June – Big Sister
July – All Things Summer
August – Under the Sea
September – Animals
October – Life on the Farm
November – Fruits and Vegetables
December – Advent, preparing for Christmas
The last week of each month I will post what we will be doing for the following month for each theme (activities, outings, resources, booksâ€¦) if you would like to follow along with us. Now, to promote learning in your home planned activities and outings are not necessary, but I find it gets everyone excited to have a little switch up in our day-to-day and pushes us to try new things. Most learning in the early ages comes from daily activities/routines, conversations, and exploration of books. Â
Learning at Home
Below are a few tips on how to promote learning and development in the home for the little ones (1 Â½ – toddler). Some of these tips might seem simple and obvious, but there are days where my to-do list takes over or I just don’t feel like I have the patience. I have to remind myself that its the little moments and learning experiences that lay the foundation for their minds and overall development.
- Give your child the opportunity to play with other kids (park, playdates, music/play classes – good for mom to get out as well and socialize (: )
- Encourage everyday skills and involve them in daily tasks -getting dressed – zipping, buttoning, Â washing hands, simple chores.
- Talk to your children, listen, converse. Ask about their day, tell them about your day.
- READ. Read aloud to them, have them read to you. Simply enjoy exploring books, looking at pictures and retelling stories. Make sure books are in space where they can reach so they can access on their own.
- Give them time and space to play and use their imagination.
I hope you find this as a helpful guide. Creating an inviting learning space for your child does not have to include loads of prep or mess. Don’t over complicate it! Keep it simple, and have fun!