Thursday, November 29, 2012

Breaking it Down- Preschool

If your little ones want to “play school” like their older siblings, you can give each one a notebook (three ring binder. Sometimes you can find them on sale at Wal-mart, discount stores, or even thrift stores for as little as $.50 each), pick one letter per day and show them how to write that letter. Use a marker on plain paper. Nice big letters are best. 

I add simple drawings of things that begin with that letter. You could help them cut up and paste pictures from magazines instead if you feel you can’t draw, though I urge you to try. Drawing is a learned skill, and little kids are wonderful. If you tell them that squiggle is a dog, then by golly, it is a dog! They will watch you practice and learn and will be encouraged to follow your example.

Encourage them to trace the letter. As they get older I make a dot-to-dot puzzle out of the letters. I also have some flash cards I go through with them most everyday; animals, transportation, shapes, colors, money, ABC’s etc. Some I have bought and some I have made. This makes them feel important and helps them be ready to begin “real school” when they are older. It also makes them more willing to leave me and the older children alone when I am working with them.

Many recommend the book Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready. While I did find the book informative, by my third or fourth child I was doing the exercises during everyday life and didn’t need to follow its schedule. They became just another thing that had to be done, though it did occasionally give something an older sibling could do with the toddler to occupy him.

There are lots of good preschool resources out there. Google or Cathy Duffy’s review should lead you to what fits for your little ones. My kids especially enjoy It taught one of them to read. And Easy Peasy has a preschool section.

The preschool years, though are really a time to learn more important things like colors, shapes, how to sing “Itsey-Bitsey Spider“, how to tell the left hand from the right, where that ant is going when it crosses your yard, what happens when the snow melts, etc. If your little one doesn’t want to “do school” don’t make him. Go exploring with him (or send an older sibling out with him), read to him, sing to him (he thinks your voice is beautiful even if Nashville doesn’t), play with him. These things are much better ways for him to spend his time.

  • Read to your child.
  • Take walks outside, explore, look at the clouds, watch the ants.
  • Sing to your child. Dance a lot.
  • Teach him colors, shapes, sizes (big, little), relations (bigger, smaller), left and right, etc. during your every day.
  • Teach the ABC’s and 123’s.

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