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Do I need preschool at home curriculum?
Did you know the number one search result for both “tot school” and “preschool at home” is all about choosing curriculum? Which program will BEST prepare my child for Kindergarten?
As I’ve said before:
The truth is, there is NO perfect curriculum that will make tot school or preschool at home a guaranteed success.
While I am not anti-curriculum, I don’t think it’s necessary for MOST families who choose to do tot school or preschool at home. Curriculum is simply meant to be a jumping off point for teachers (and homeschooling parents). All too often, we become more focused on teaching the next lesson in the book rather than what our child needs to learn next.
I don’t typically recommend that families “wing it,” either.
Some programs, like Five In A Row or A Year of Playing Skillfully, have a natural and gentle approach to how young children learn best. We also offer affordable, themed Family Activity Guides in our Play School Club, a membership program for parents with children ages 2-6.
The Family Activity Guides take a “menu approach,” with 40 hands-on learning activities that can be chosen based on skill, interest, or time. Think of the guides as a learning BUFFET, where everyone can get exactly what they want (and need!) next. Best of all, each guide comes with a list of recommended books, material suggestions, and the support of a (former) elementary school teacher–ME!
Or maybe you’re more of a DIYer? There are lots of great Instagram feeds and Pinterest accounts filled with activity suggestions for you and your kids. The piecemeal approach can be fun as you follow your child’s interests and passions … though it can cost you more time and money.
Are you considering preschool at home for your toddler or preschooler? Check out our series:
Is learning through play really enough?
If you are new around here, you should know I am a BIG FAN of learning through play!
Is it enough for preschoolers learning at home? Yes…and no.
Babies and toddlers discover most of the world through play (and their mouths). It really IS enough to choose a few, intentional open-ended toys, stock the play area with a variety of terrific board books, and spend lots of time reading, singing, and playing outside.
If you have a preschooler at home, I believe that child-directed play should take up a large portion of each day. However, some skills will need to be taught directly to children by a caring adult. Despite my greatest hopes that they would pick it up indirectly, I have had to teach both of my children how to:
- brush their teeth
- wipe their bottoms
- wash their hands
- tie their shoes
- and ride a bike.
(But they picked up how to read on their own. Go figure!)
Knowing which skills to teach (and when) can be tricky for parents and caregivers who do not have a background in education. (And even for those of us who taught older children and didn’t take many ECE/EYFS classes in college!)
During our preschool at home years, I created a list of nearly 100 developmental milestones for children birth-age 5. You can grab yours here!
Using this milestones checklist can give you the wisdom you need to plan fun, hands-on learning activities that are perfectly, developmentally-appropriate for your child(ren).
Where do I find ideas for fun learning activities?
As I mentioned before, there are so many amazing parents sharing their ideas on Instagram and Pinterest. Use hashtags #totschool, #preschoolathome, and #learningathome to connect with other families who have similar styles to you!