Montessori Style Preschool at Home
If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I want to create a great learning experience for my preschooler and that I’ve been reading books on child development and ways to incorporate games and crafts into a type of preschool at home.
A wise Godly friend of mine who has six children and has homeschooled from four to fifteen years of age gave me some smart advice. There are so many curriculm out there and you can easily spend a fortune on teaching tools and materials, but what you must keep in mind is “what works for you” and “what works for your child”. She asked me to think about “what do I get excited about?” and “what does my son get excited about?” If you’ve made the decision to keep your little one at home but don’t want them to miss out on what others their age might be learning in preschool you may want to incorporate some of the ideas I’ll be sharing here.
I’ve been reading an excellent book on Preschooler Education titled “How to Raise an Amazing Child – The Montessori Way” by Tim Seldin. From this book I’ve been inspired to restructure our alphabet study and categorize our activities around the “areas for learning”. It has helped me seek more ways to reinforce our alphabet study as well as explore new areas for learning. I think I was intuitively using many of these principles in our activities, but seeing them listed helps me feel a bit more confident about feeling like I’ve touched on everything. I’m so excited to implement what I’ve what I’ve learned from this book.
I’ve added my thoughts on the details of each learning area as a part of the description. The Learning Areas include:
Movement – gross motor skills. Dancing, climbing, crawling, jumping, swinging, sliding, throwing a ball, grasping, catching, running, etc.
Language – Read aloud to your child. Talking, singing, poetry, stories, books, and any spoken language.
Small Objects – fine motor skills. Stacking, sorting, organizing, putting into and taking out of containers, anything < 2″ square.
Grace & Courtesy – I’m renaming this “character”. Things like manners, honesty, integrity, responsibility, sharing, courtesy, etc.
Senses – Smell, touch, taste, see and hear. Perfect for activities in the kitchen.
Writing – Anything that requires the child to hold a writing or coloring utensil – marker, pencil, crayon, and pen to create letters.
Order – Helping your child develop an appreciation for organization. Chores. Also called “practical” application.
Music- Singing, listening to and or playing music. Making a joyful noise. Worship.
Toileting – Potty-training, hygiene, washing hands and brushing teeth. This is a daily activity and not one I plan to put in a box.
Reading – Letter and word recognition. Learning phonetic sounds and sight words.
Spatial Relationship – Shapes and puzzles. I also think this includes deductive reasoning – science experiments, hypothesis testing.
Mathematics – Patterns, shapes, learning numbers, counting, adding, subtracting and later – multiplication and division.
Each of these areas has a co-relating “sensitive period” – meaning a certain age range where the child is most open to learning about that type area. For instance, movement is most important from birth to one year. However, one can easily discern that movement is something our children spend most of their lives learning – especially if they enroll in a sport or if you consider how important gross and fine motor skill training is for preschoolers.
I’ve attached a powerpoint slide I plan to use to remind me of the key areas for learning and I plan to use a ten drawer storage cart to hep me stay organized. I used a rainbow-colored cart, but you can shop Amazon and pick a style that goes with your home decor. This is an affiliate link, your support helps me keep my blog online – thank you!
I plan to label each drawer with a key learning area and then place items in the drawer to help us stay on task. Ideally we would do two or three activities each day before nap time leaving one day open to run errands or meet at MOPS or any other activity.
If you are looking for inspiration for fun things to do with your preschooler you may want to follow me on Pinterest (button on my sidebar)- I have a whole section on Montessori learning as well as a section on crafts and games for little ones.
As far as planning goes, I’m going to pick the ten activities for the week but I’ll let my son choose the activities that we will do each day (as long as they are not too repetitive) to follow the Montessori method of letting the child lead (of course, it is guided leading). I plan to build in plenty of time for free play too since I want to encourage curiosity and foster an environment for learning and play. From all the materials I’ve read, the most important thing about this young age is that as a mom I spend intentional time with my boys. I do not think the focus should be on academics as much as it should be focused on creating a love for learning in my children. I’ve attached a sample for the week that is subject to change as we progress.
A picture of the drawers filled with some goodies for the week.
Another important point from the book is the reminder that children learn at their own pace. The Montessori method encourages parents to observe their children as they play and learn. This will help you assess how your child is doing and you can make adjustments along the way. Every child is different and it’s important to keep that in mind as I plan my activities. After a few weeks of implementing our Alphabet study this way, I’ll assess how my son is doing and see if there are things that I might need to simplify or make more complex so that I can follow his natural bent of assimilating information.
I’ve also attached the labels I’ve created for our structured learning, you are welcome to download them as well as a planning sheet for each week. Just click on the images in this post to print a PDF version of any file straight from your home computer. I hope these are a blessing to you and that you’ll join us in our Preschool Alphabet Games here at Happy and Blessed Home.
I fill the drawers only once per week with about ten activities. We spend anywhere from five minutes to fifteen minutes per activity. This leads to about fifteen to forty-five minutes of planned activity per day.
I’ve seen a tremendous increase in new subscribers and if you are a new subscriber – welcome to Happy and Blessed Home! I’m so glad you’re here and below I’ve listed a few links that you may want to review to help you become a bit more familiar with some of the resources on my blog:
- FREE 30+ Activities for each letter for Preschoolers Learning to Read through the Alphabet
- FREE Printables - as I create things for my children, I share them via this blog
- FREE Alphabet Printables - I love to illustrate and I created these for preschoolers
- Preparing for Kindergarten Series - insight from the book, “Skills for Preschool Teachers”
- One Word Devotional Series - encouraging words for moms w/video
- Preschool Morning Board Series - an easy visual system to teach basic skills
- Montessori Planning Post - with labels, organizational charts & more
Lately I’ve been posting about twice a week (sometimes three times) and my posts have mainly been focusing on enriching preschooler activities using games and printables. I also publish Family Fun Friday every week. My boys and I love to play and have fun but I’m a parent who also wants to understand the “why” behind certain crafts, sensory bins, and educational toys. So I’ve been reading books – and I blog about what I learn. If I can, I try to develop tools that help me implement what I’ve learned, and if possible, I create printables that others can use, then I share those with you, my readers.
Often, for your convenience, I’ll include affiliate links to things like Amazon or other sellers. I make a tiny commission, but my hope is that you’ll become a fan and want to support my blogging by using these links when you can. If you have time, you can also help me grow my blog by pinning the posts you like on PINTEREST or by sharing on other social media like Facebook. This is really important as word of mouth is one of the biggest ways that my blog grows.
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