Thursday, August 25, 2011

Preschool battle plan... or don't stand still too long or Mommy may laminate you!

Sorry for the whiplash I may have inflicted on my readers... college one day, preschool the next.  Welcome to my world.  I promised you my plans as to what I'm doing with my three youngest during the school year.  At this point, knowing the chaos of which the three of them are capable it really does feel like a battle plan for getting through the morning.  My first line of defense is to put them at the top of the list for my time each day.  G. and L. will be first, followed by K.  I have found (and I hope it continues to be true) that by spending time with my youngest first, they will be happier to plan and entertain themselves while I work with the olders.  The second item on my plan is containment and distraction.  I will keep them inside the barricade with me and I have a schedule for bringing out a different "big" toy each day that can only be played with during "school".  (These would include Duplo, Playmobile 123, wooden trains, etc.)  And my third line of defense is flexibility.  I have scheduled our time loosely so that is a small person needs me, it doesn't throw the whole thing out-of-whack to attend to them.  I am also prepared to let the littles join us in our group projects.  In theory it should work.

Here is some of what I'm going to use (mainly with K.) during our time together.  (For G. and L., I will bring out some suitable preschool boxes and coloring things, but we will mostly be reading stories and singing songs.  You know, all those things I mean to do with my children, but never get to.)  The preschool boxes will be in rotation, but I have made some new things for him as well.  I was inspired by a preschool workshop that I attended at the homeschool conference last spring to tie more of my preschooler's activities into what the rest of us are doing.  I also (finally) invested in a laminator.  (I reviewed and commented on a cleft publication earlier this summer and earned a little spending money.) 

I've made four different folders, all filled with cool laminated stuff.

One is a book of animal pictures, from a set of postcards my parents gave us from the San Diego Zoo.  These have been sitting around here for a couple of months, but through the magic of lamination, everyone is suddenly very, very interested in looking at them.  K. and I (and probably G. and L. will use these as well) will learn animal names, sort, match and categorize.

I've also made a folder of Egyptian art, also by laminating a post cart set.  We will use these in much the same way we are using the animal cards.

I have also made an activity folder for K., using a Cars theme.  (Since he learned his colors by associating them with Cars characters, I'm hoping they will do the same things for letters and numbers.  I found this set at 1+1+1=1.  (She has a lot of different preschool printables on her site and it is worth a look.)

The last folder is all about lighthouses.  I ordered a copy of the charming children's book, The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge, which we will read.  Then I photocopied, cut-out, and laminated pictures from the story so that K. can use them to act out the story.

Also in the folder are lighthouse taxonomy cards (based the Montessori idea).  Using clip art, the printer, and laminator, they were pretty easy to make.  The idea is the child first matches the picture cards (there are more than these), then moves on to matching the words to the card.

There you go... preschool in a post.  I wonder what else I can find to laminate...

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