I remember looking at the papers spread before me as I prepared to cut out the lesson for the next day. I realized in that moment that I needed to find a new preschool curriculum. My daughter was four and I was spending more time cutting out the preschool lesson than she spent doing the activities!
I began to look for a better alternative—one that would provide a solid foundation while respecting my limited amount of time to prepare and teach.
About that time, I began reading Volume 1 of The Original Homeschooling Series by Charlotte Mason and I learned that the early years should be a time of discovery and habit formation. Ms. Mason said children should have a full six years of quiet growing time, largely spent outside. They should form relationships with nature, family, and friends.
As we began focusing on spending time outside and forming relationships our preschool curriculum finally began to feel right. We had balance and I could see that my daughter was building that firm foundation.
What does this look in practicality? It looks a little different for every family and even different for every child, but here’s how it looked for my family.
Our Favorite Preschool Curriculum
Teacher Resource Books for Preschool Curriculum
- The Anchor: Recording Your Child’s Pre-Academic Development by Susan Chrisman—This is a phenomenal record book of your child’s pre-academic development. It includes suggestions of activities in twelve different categories of academic development such as gross motor skills, fine motor skills, and visual development. While this is an excellent record and planning book for a preschool curriculum, it is not just for preschool. I used it with my daughters when they were seven and nine to make sure we didn’t have any gaps.
- Slow and Steady Get Me Ready by June Oberlander—This book includes 260 weekly, age-appropriate developmental activities that are easy to understand and do for every stage of early childhood development from baby to preschool.
- The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks by Heather Haupt—This book provides many activity suggestions that will also build developmental skills all kids need. We enjoy these activities even in elementary school.
- Keeping Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy During Lesson Time
Favorite Preschool Curriculum Components
This is an excellent time for habit formation! The most important habit for a child to learn is the habit of obedience. Learn how I teach my children to obey through games. Preschoolers love to help around the house. Capitalize on this by having them help with chores. Yes, it may take longer but you will be teaching them valuable skills and building your relationship at the same time. You can also teach them the habit of observation through games.
We read a lot! A large portion of our preschool years consisted of trips to the library and time spent snuggling on the couch. Reading to your child builds a strong foundation for reading readiness. Here is a list of authors and books we enjoy for preschool.
A large amount of our time during the preschool years was spent outside. Charlotte Mason suggests four to six hours outside every day. Before you say, “I can’t do that!” remember that Ms. Mason lived in England and her climate was different. The mothers in her time (100 years ago) also probably had some household help. I strived to be outside as much as possible and rejoiced when we had a day when we were outside four to six hours. Practically, this is how our outside time looked:
- We ate meals outside, weather permitting—al fresco.
- In the summer months of Oklahoma, we played outside in the cooler hours of the morning and went to the pool or played in the sprinkler or buckets of water in the afternoon.
- In the winter months, we went outside for a brisk walk or played in the snow (when there was some) in the afternoon when the temperatures had risen a little. It’s important to note that I have my own snow suit. I was often the limiting factor in us going outside. The kids were usually ready. I was the wimp!
- We played with chalk, balls, jump ropes, scooters (both stand up and sit down such as a wiggle scooter or a scoot board), water, sand, and mud.
- We placed a blanket in a shady spot and read books.
- The kids explored the nature of the yard or park and found new discoveries of flowers, trees, insects, and frogs.
- We walked to the neighborhood pond to watch the ducks and geese.
Preschoolers are concrete thinkers. How often have you said something only to realize that your child did EXACTLY what you told her to do? Because of this concrete thinking, preschoolers need to see, touch, and move objects around to understand mathematical concepts. Math manipulatives are beneficial for all ages, but are especially important for preschool-aged children. Here are our favorite math manipulatives and activities for preschoolers.
Gross Motor Skills
The Anchor: Recording Your Child’s Pre-Academic Development includes many great activity suggestions for improving your child’s gross motor skills.
Fine Motor Skills
In addition to The Anchor: Recording Your Child’s Pre-Academic Development by Susan Chrisman, here are other ideas for fine motor skills.
Finger Play and Preschool Song Cards by Heather Haupt
Visual Development Skills
In addition to The Anchor: Recording Your Child’s Pre-Academic Development by Susan Chrisman, here are other ideas for visual development skills.
This post is part of the 2015 Not Back to School Curriculum Week Hop from iHomeschool Network.