We've officially had our first week of Pre-school Play! And it was fun. :) While I am not sure I'll be able to devote this much time to every child, or necessarily have the need of doing these activities, some of which are more busywork type things, for Hadassah right now, this is definitely the right thing. It makes me intentional about playing with her and doing special crafts, which she loves. And right now she really likes letters and numbers, so these activities aren't stressing her too early. Plus, I figure I'm learning things that work well for kids these age, so I'll be able to draw from these plans for activities for younger siblings to do while the older ones are doing homeschool. All-in-all, we had a great week and Hadassah seemed to enjoy being a student. When I asked if she liked preschool, she said, "Yeah, I like doing new things!"
But I just want to say if you're a mom and not doing these things with your 2/3 year old, I no way think you're doing wrong! I never thought I'd start so many structured things this early, it just kind of happened along the way and I got pulled into the fun of planning and teaching. I guess I've missed it. :) But this age really does just need the opportunity to play, explore, create, and be outside. If we had a backyard, I have a feeling we'd be OUT more and do less crafts in. But, this is where we are right now.
Below are pictures of some of our fun. Feel free to bypass if you're not interested. :) But I drew a lot from blogs that shared activities and ideas (hardly any of these are my own) so I'm sharing in case others want some inspiration.
Dassah on her first day of "school" - hard to believe we're at this age, though I still maintain there's no need to start school this early. ;) But in China formal schooling does start for almost everyone at age 3, so Hadassah is excited to do "preschool" like some of her friends. :)
For our first day we had fun making an Ant, coloring a random Astronaut page, doing do-a-dot markers to find "A" and "a" (free printable here) and having fun with the new do-a-dot markers on a blank sheet. Dassah loves anything artsy and new! And I was amazed at how quickly she found all the a's. Though we're doing letter-of-the-week as a structure, she already has very little trouble identifying her letters, just from the books we've read and toys she has.
Dassah was so excited to see that these books started with A as I emphasized they were for our A week. As the week went on, she would find random A's in other books, and very excitedly tell me, "mommy, this is an A book!! We should use it for preschool!!"
this page) was colorful and fun. We finally have a home printer, bought online in Chinese but thankfully had an English option to set up. I bought some bottles of ink that were super cheap ($1.50/bottle, and will fill each cartridge multiple times) not realizing you had to use a drill to drill a hole in the cartridge to fill it up. But, Ryan figured it out and now we have a super cheap way to print whatever we want! So it's fun not feeling bad printing things in color. :)
We did a lot with airplanes for A. Here I pinned a scarf to her shirt and attached it to her wrists with ponytail holders, then had her zoom around as an airplane. It didn't last long, but she got some energy out. She really liked it when I picked her up and had her "fly" around, sideways, spinning, and doing some tricks. :)
But this Animal slide was the biggest hit. I threw the animals up to Dassah and she would let them drop. Ellie loved watching the action.
She was always excited to show Ryan whatever she made that day over lunch. I'd debated where to hang her art display ribbon, but I'm glad I decided on the dining room, as she's so excited for others to see what she's been learning. We made an apple print using paint and a real apple (eating the part that didn't get paint on it of course!). First we dissected the seeds and counted how many there were.
And as she loves anything with stickers, putting these animal stickers on an A was a treat for her! At first she started putting them anywhere, but quickly got the hang of only putting them inside the letter.
here). At first I tried to have her just do the ones in the maze, but she wouldn't rest until she had covered ALL the A's and a's. I didn't push it. I admire her thoroughness, and right now learning is for fun. She can learn to follow all the directions of a sheet later. ;)
here). We're doing a number a week too. Again, she was very thorough and wanted to fill all the squares at the bottom instead of just one as instructed. I let her. ;) She said she was making a blueberry pie, but then when she grabbed the blue capped marker and found it to be green (she likes to mix up the cap colors!) she decided it would just be a green cake. I love almost-3-year-olds.
A week complete! We did almost all of the planned activities, and added a few more along the way. Not pictured is our Bible story we acted out, Adam and Eve. She really loved having the "snack" (a caterpillar toy) come up from behind the pillow "tree", eating the apple, and hiding in the "trees" (curtains). First I read the account in the Bible, to get her used to sitting and listening to longer passages, then imagining how they would be.
Each morning we sang two songs, one from "My First Hymnal" and one from my mom's ABC verses-into-song book. By Thursday she was able to sing almost all of them. She usually doesn't sing along and I don't push it, but when I asked if her stuffed animal sitting with us could sing along, I heard she knew the whole the thing! We're also learning a verse each week that starts with the letter. The thing I am most thankful for from being homeschooled myself is the scripture my mom had me memorized, planting those seeds early. So I am passing on the same blessing to my daughter.
Each week we're practicing a skill too. This one was Answering "Yes Mommy" more often. She got a sticker when she did it well and we remembered to put it on. We also had a talking topic: Animals and how to treat them. I loved asking her random questions too, and was quite surprised when to the question of "what's your favorite animal?" she answered "a llama!" She remembered a book we have about a petting zoo and how kids brushed the llama and thought that would be fun. :)
She drew A and a in the sandbox outside with a stick (my suggestion) and it's neat to see how she knows how to form them, even if they're a bit wobbly. She's also noticing a's EVERYWHERE, in books, on wall artwork, and always so excited to point them out to me. It's fun to see her learning and starting to realize how words are formed. I'm enjoying connecting more in meaningful ways with my big girl and how keeping her a little more occupied with creative things when we need to stay inside does help us both a lot!