This week has been a bit of a “soft opening” [or start] of Tot School. Our official first day is Monday, August 25th. This week we started with a theme and Bible verse to see what types of activities work best at various times in our day. I’ve spent some time ironing out our curriculum for the first 6 weeks and finalizing our schedule. Greatly inspired by Jenni Mullinex and her own Tot School: Philosophy, Focus, and Curriculum, I thought I would share ours.
Our Tot School Philosophy:
“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”
Our goal with Tot School is to allow Benjamin to learn about the world around him, through exploration and discovery. While there will be a curriculum in place, it’s really important to me to follow his lead and to meet him where he’s at. There is plenty of time in his life for formal education, but we want to instill a solid foundation upon which to build. As such, our main focus this year is to teach Benjamin about God and His love for him. More than any other wish for my son, I pray that he always knows and feels loved. We want him to grow up knowing how much God loves him. This year, Tot School will be based upon the desire to teach Benjamin God’s Word, about the world around him, and to instill a life-long love of learning.
Our Focus for This Year:
>> Benjamin starts Tot School, this year, two days shy of 21 months old. <<
* Reading the Word of God – This Summer we focused on memorizing one Bible verse, which Benjamin received from Sunday School, and that was Romans 8:39 – “Nothing can separate us from God’s Love”. One of our main focuses this year is to continue exposing Benjamin to the Word of God. Each week we will focus on a new Bible verse. I am printing and laminating these so that we can use them again to memorize when the time comes. For now, we are focusing on “reading [hearing] the Word of God”.
* Letter Recognition – Each week we will focus on one letter from the alphabet. This year Benjamin will be learning his alphabet in chronological order. I will keep a large version of the letter on his bulletin board, along with several sight words beginning with that letter. Throughout the week we will complete several activities together with this theme.
* Vocabulary through Literacy – Both my husband and myself are avid readers. We had a collection of children’s books before we ever had a child. Reading to/with Benjamin is one of our family’s favorite past times and we do it often. It is our goal to continue engaging Benjamin through literacy on a daily basis. This year we will visit the library weekly and also participate in Storytime.
* Physical Activity + Development – Like most toddlers his age, Benjamin is full of energy and eager to expend it. He also loves being outdoors. This year we will focus on letting him explore what his body can do physically, by taking walks (where we hold hands), going to the park, chasing a ball around the tennis courts, practicing kicking a soccer ball, shooting his basketball, and running in a field. Our goal is to expose him to a variety of physical activities and to foster his love for an active lifestyle.
* Life Skills – This part of Benjamin’s “tot schooling” covers all of the day-to-day [fine motor and intellectual] skills that he’ll be learning based on his age. Examples of these include, but are not limited to: learning to complete more complex puzzles, putting his own clothing on, mastering the fork and spoon, learning to count, recognizing shapes, and learning people’s names.
Our Weekday Schedule:
One of my Goals for 2014 was not only to “add structure to our day and to teach Benjamin”, but to establish a family schedule that incorporated this, as well as our social activities, working out, and getting my work done. Being a work at home mama was nearly impossible without this structure last year. It’s so important to have good time management skills, and keeping a basic schedule has helped so much in the past several months. Until now it didn’t really include much of Benjamin’s day-to-day specifics, so I created a new “Weekday Schedule” for us [that includes Tot School], which I now have printed and laminated on Benjamin’s bulletin board for easy reference.