Theme of the Month:

SUMMER!!! ... we're having FUN in the Sun and cooling off at our Water Table!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Teeny Tot School: Week 2 (Age: 13 Months)

Practical Life: This week we again worked on putting objects in small places. We started with a baby cereal tin and poker chips. MunCee actually spent ~15 minutes doing this over and over again! When she started to lose interest, I introduced a spice bottle and q-tips. It was a bit more challenging but she also kept at it for quite some time. What was most interesting for me was to see how she handled herself when one of the q-tips got frayed. She spent several minutes trying different ways to get it into the bottle and her focus was really amazing. She did get a bit frustrated at the end so we moved on to another activity (I don't know if that was the right thing to do? ....but I'll definitely reintroduce this activity again soon).

Sensorial: MunCee absolutely LOVES water so we gave her some plastic Easter eggs and a scoop and let her have fun at her water table. The idea for this table came from The Secret of Childhood (actual pic) and I have to say it is genius! Very inexpensive, real easy to make and portable. It's a great distraction for when I need 45 minutes to do something around the house... love it!!! 

Reading: We spend some more time reading and exploring "The Runaway Bunny". We also practiced the ABC song. MunCee likes the Elmo/India Arie version on YouTube so we watched that a few times. She thinks every letter is "E" so we've been trying to point out the real E's everywhere ;-)
Math: No specific Math work this week other than counting out fruits/food in the kitchen and grocery store. 
Culture & Exercise: We danced to Reggae and Soca music from Mommy's country (Guyana). This will likely be a regular part of our routine as it is also a great way for Mommy to get some Cardio in without actually working out ;-) and MunCee likes to dance! 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Teeny Tot School: Week 1 (Age: 13 Months)

Our first week of Tot School was absolutely fantastic. MunCee started the week teething so I wasn't sure how many of the activities we would get done but she surprised me by being totally interested in everything. I think it was actually a nice distraction from those pesky little teeth pushing through her sore and swollen gums. Anyhew, here goes...
Circle Time: Not sure she's quite ready for this just yet. She loved the singing but was immediately distracted by the activities trays so, going forward, we'll probably just sing the songs before we enter our "classroom" and/or throughout the day.
Practical Life: MunCee loves boxes so we did the Opening/Closing activity. I'd previously collected a variety of boxes, jars, purses, tins etc., specifically for this activity. I selected a few, stacked some within each other and added pom poms, old credit cards and other hidden items for her to discover. She really had fun with this activity and went back to it several times so we left it out all week and just kept rotating the containers to keep it interesting.

We also practiced putting pasta in a bottle. I was surprised at how quickly she was able to do this on her own. She's been feeding herself finger foods for some time now and is always putting her crackers into our glasses/water bottles so I guess she's had a lot of practice ;-)

Sensorial: To practice our colors, we used our colored wooden eggs (great idea from The Wonder Years) and our color mat (made by cutting out colored foam circles and taping them to large white foam sheet). She was more interested in running off with the eggs than the actual matching but we had fun anyway!

Crumbling tissue paper was another fun way to introduce colors and to also experience textures. MunCee didn't quite get the concept of crumbling but she was so focused during this activity and seemed to be really trying. She also had a great time at the end  throwing the paper balls everywhere ;-)

Reading Math and Culture: We started BFIAR by reading "The Runaway Bunny" by Margaret Wise Brown. This time of year we have lots of rabbits in our neighborhood so this seemed like a good book to start with since we could look for "the bunny", birds and insects on our nature walks. 

To practice our numbers, we read "123 Sea!" by Julie Fletcher
And, to go along with our Spring/Nature theme, we spend time outdoors exploring our backyard and looking for interesting items for our Nature Box. MunCee LOVES the outdoors so this was also a lot of fun. Exercise: Climbing stairs is currently MunCee's favorite activity so we did a lot of that and also went to the a toddler class at The Little Gym.All-in-all, it turned out to be a wonderful first week of Tot School. We are soooo looking forward to next week!!!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tot School Begins!

We are all set and ready to begin. All of our trays and materials for Weeks 1 & 2 are prepared and waiting to be explored ;-) I'm so excited to see how MunCee will react to Tot School. We are currently using the scheduled times for unstructured exploration/free play and story time and have also already introduced some Montessori activities so it won't be completely new to her.

Our primary goal is to make this a FUN environment for MunCee where she can play and learn at the same time. Although it will be somewhat structured, we will follow her cues and make adjustments as needed. In a true Montessorian sense, we will do our best "follow the child!"

I think the hardest part of it will be for ME to supress that instinctive need to help and to also remember to "quietly" observe and not provide unnecessary praise which can be so disruptive. If I can get those things under control, I think we will be just fine.

Sooooo, the next post will be all about our first day of Tot School. How exciting!!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Tot School Curriculum!

We're almost ready to begin Tot School. Our first session is scheduled to officially begin on April 12th but we're still awaiting some of our supplies from Oriental Trading so we'll see what happens.

I've finalized our curriculum which is a based on David Gettman's "Basic Montessori", "Tot Tray" ideas from 1+1+1=1 and the free "Brightly Beaming Toddlercurriculum from Letter Of The Week. We're also using "Before Five In A Row" for our reading program. I know it seems like a lot but I've also created a week-by-week schedule for the entire year so it's pretty simple to follow. I don't expect that we'll do everything as planned (since this will be based on MunCee's interests), but it will help keep ME organized; that and I'm also TOTALLY addicted to spreadsheets so this was actually a very fun project for me ;-)!

So, here's our basic curriculum with some of the things we hope to cover during months 13 thru 24. We will have two 1-hour sessions per day as follows:

Circle Time (~15 Minutes):
      Session 1 - Weather, Calendar, Learning Songs, Nursery Rhymes
      Session 2 - Action Songs, Finger Plays, Sign Language
Learning Activities (~30 Minutes): 
      Monday - Math
           (Numbers, Shapes, Sorting, Matching)
      Tuesday - Sensorial
           (Colors, Stacking, Mirror Mirror, Senses)
      Wednesday - Language
           (Letters, Writing, Reading (BFIAR), Opposites)
      Thursday - Practical Life
           (Self-Care, Tidying Up, Emptying/Filling, Pouring/Transferring)
      Friday - Cultural
           (Arts & Crafts, Music, Nature Study)
Exercise (~15 Minutes)
      Gross Motor - Walking, Climbing, Pushing, Jumping, Throwing

I'm currently preparing our learning activity trays for the first two weeks. My plan is to repeat the same activity in both sessions to reinforce the material; not sure if this will bore MunCee so we'll try it and make adjustments if she loses interest.

That's really it; for now anyway!