We have officially started our homeschool Tot School today! What is Tot School? A focused time each day to focus on early learning skills. Never forced, the idea is to follow your child's lead throughout the process, while exposing them to new ideas, tools and concepts.
We will spend 15 - 20 minutes on letter and number recognition, but it is all based through play.
For example, I will create an invitation to play with a tray of playdough and letters to stamp into the dough, throughout the process we will sing the alphabet song and I will point out the letters as we sing. I will also hold up a letter and say. "This is the letter B and the sound it makes is....(insert phonetic sound here.)"
These moments are very unpredictable, as a child may not do things the way you have planned or envisioned for the process. The key in all of this is to be patient and let your child learn at their own pace, but I do find it essential to have a loosely based plan to get started. I will incorporate things we already have from, books, flashcards, chunky puzzles and simply creating fun games using cardboard or construction paper.I also have all of these items sorted on a bookshelf and storage bin. I keep school items separate from her other toys because it makes things a little more exciting each time they are introduced.
I have noticed that some think this concept is harsh for a baby or simply to soon (my daughter will be 16 months in a few days). I clearly do not feel that way at all. I think the idea of play with purpose is a great way to stay on track of certain things you would like your baby to learn. I do have a list of goals for my daughter, of things to"master" in 2019. For us it is recognition of the alphabet, numbers 1 - 10, colors, shapes & animals. I have created a monthly schedule that focuses on specific themes (this month it is Arctic Animals) and using those themes to incorporate certain, letters, numbers, colors and shapes that make sense with the theme. For us, this idea incorporates fun sensory play, art, outdoor play and trips to places like the Zoo or Aquarium for example. I love having themes it makes things so much more fun and widens the possibilities of learning. It is so wonderfully amazing to hear my daughters oohhhss and aaahhhsss, when she learns something new. Not to mention a ton of family time and memories.
Another thing you should know about tot school - the designated daily "school time" is literally 20 - 30 minutes. My goal is to have two 15 minute sessions a day (after breakfast and after lunch). During those 15 minutes I will lay out an activity and play along with her and then I will leave her to explore on her own. Again I would start with using things like flash cards, sorting activities, matching games, art, music etc. I do have an outlined plan but I do know that at the end of the day, everything is based on my daughters lead.
Be sure to follow on Facebook & Instagram with our Tot School Goings-Ons. Let me know if you would like to see a schedule or how I have planned and organized our version of Tot School in detail. Below is a short list of goals we will incorporate each week with a variety of indoor and outdoor activities:
FOCUS: Recognition of Alphabet, Numbers, Shapes, Colors & Animals
1. Language Skills: Books, Music, Songs
2. Math/Reasoning Skills: Number Recognition, Matching, Sorting, Transferring
3. Science Skills: Sensory Bin Activities, Art, Nature walks
4. Social/Emotional Development: Music classes, Library Classes, Tumbling Classes, Playdates, Manners, Practical Life skills
5. Physical Skills: Indoor/Outdoor, Running, Kicking, Throwing, Climbing, etc.
6. Arts and Creative Expression: Independent Play, Open Ended Play, Loose Parts, Small World Play, Invitation to play