Toddler Teach? Or Toddler Play?

Posted by  | Friday, August 28, 2009  at 2:03 PM  

It's funny that this weeks topic is titled, "Toddler Teach and Play." You see, we have spent almost all summer debating over which direction we should head with my son (turned 3 in June). I know this week isn't about home school versus preschool - but that was my debate. I won't go into the pros and cons that we hashed out because I think they are SO different for every family and every situation.

In the end we decided that he would benefit from the structure of doing AWANA each week at church, in addition to Sunday mornings of course and possibly some gymnastics or soccer lessons. If I added preschool in the mix - even just two mornings a week - I really felt like I was going to miss out on valuable time with him. So we've decided to embark on a slightly more structured version of what we were already doing at home. I hesitate to call it "homeschooling" yet - but that is really what we're preparing for in a few more years.

Even deciding to add a little more structure to our "play" time was difficult. I guess the question really was do I just let him continue "playing" or do I get more intentional about "teaching" him as well - whether through a preschool or at home? Margaret was so sweet to remind me that toddlers learn SO MUCH from just simply playing! That is really all they need for quite a while. No Mom should feel guilty for not enrolling their child in preschool or not adopting an official home school plan for their toddler or preschooler! They learn so much from playing, reading and interacting - preschool isn't necessary to accomplish those things.

For us, I felt as though I still needed the accountability of a slightly more structured plan to our "teach and play" time. I needed to get a little more serious with encouraging him to persevere through a task (like a puzzle) and finish the whole thing - assuming its age appropriate. After much research over options - I settled on what I think to be a SUPER easy to use and zero stress plan for myself and for Will!

ABC Jesus Loves Me!

It is a FREE three and four year old curriculum written by a Mom! ABC Jesus Loves me is "a free Preschool Curriculum website - Dedicated to preparing a child for Kindergarten in a simple and non-stressful way while giving the child a solid foundation in both the Bible and education."

It includes lessons for 36 weeks and is all laid out for you - charts and all! There are lots of printables and really everything you need (besides a few books from the library!). The three year old curriculum covers a bible story, bible verse (with a song to memorize with), letters and/or numbers, colors and other activities to build on each week. All the activities correlate and the lessons and bible stories line up with holidays as well. Obviously, you can pick and choose parts that you and your child do. If nothing else, it is a wealth of information for age-appropriate activities for three and four year olds.

It's written to start this week, the fourth week of August. We have worked on it this week - and its been so FUN for Will. He begs me to do "school" with him and read his "One Book." This week's bible story is about Creation Days 1 and 2 and while he still hasn't mastered the story, its OK because it can carry over to next week when we add Creation Days 3 and 4!

This week's colors are blue, black and white. One activity for practicing the colors was to give the child a flashlight and have them go around the house shining the light on all things of a certain color. Will has done that for at least 10 minutes several times a day. He is BEYOND excited when he finds something with his flashlight.

Overall, this method of "teaching" my toddler - well, preschooler - is working great for us so far! Has anyone else chosen a more intentional method or curriculum for their toddler or preschooler? We'd love to hear about it!



4 comments:

ChezDeshotels said...

Christina,

I love ABC Jesus Loves Me I have started this week with Lydia and she loves it she even has a school desk now and think she is soo big! I use the hour each morning that Lillian takes a nap for her school and then we do Library day on Tues. after gymnastics and Thurs. Afternoon is Art day.

She also does what mommy does as well....I am using the 3 year old curriculum for Lydia even though she will be four in OCt. she is a little behind because of her extreme prematuraty. Anyway I wanted it to be fun and not stress her out.

Thanks for the recommendation and I agree with you I did this for structure for myself as well as her:)

Christina said...

AJ,
How premature was Lydia? Just curious...Will was premature and although he's only 3, we've noticed him struggling some in a few areas. (Part of the reason I wanted to start now so I could quickly identify his strengths and weaknesses) I'm sure the doctors would dismiss any link between this and his prematurity, but I'm not convinced yet. He was a 32 weeker and only 3lbs.

ChezDeshotels said...

Christina,

Lydia was 24.5 weeks and 1lb 11oz. and yes I can see some corralation in some of her strengths and weaknesses and that is why we are starting now. I actually had a therapist and pediatrician tell me to expect some delays.

Meg said...

Please let us know how your year with ABC goes -- I am thinking about doing it with my daughter when she is closer to 3.

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