Oh my goodness. I have so much I should be doing right now. The lists in this season of my life do not end. They just don’t. But sometimes I just shove them to the far corners of the earth, and I blog. I have to. I love to.
And today I have to type about one of my favorite parts of our week. Preschool Playgroup.
Just to rabbit trail for a second: there are so many things that we do and endeavor to do in life that must be balanced and moderated. Example, food. It is a wonderful gift, but too much of it, and it’s gluttony. Wine, love ya, but too much, and a problem begins. Even discipline, I was thinking about the other day, and too little is foolish, but too much can be really dangerous territory. Asking the Holy Spirit to guide me in balance is a huge prayer of mine.
Which brings me to education, such a passion. And as I seek to educate my children, which I firmly believe begins now and happens in all kinds of ways, I want that balance. I want to create opportunities for my children to learn and gain knowledge without pushing and pressuring. Walking this line well has been a goal for me and my friends as we plan and execute preschool playgroup.
We gathered this summer and really sorted through our ideas, options, and desires for this special time. We wanted a lot of learning to happen in a really playful, engaging way. It’s easy to make letters and numbers fun, and now we are entering the next phase of putting those building blocks together. But we still want the fun!
I am really glad that we have put the time and energy into our format, because I think we have struck gold.Scripture memory is important to us, so we teach the kids a new verse each week. They practice it at home, and then get their sticker the following week for saying it. They have done so great with this. And I can reference the verses throughout the week in real life situations.
Show and Tell has been a really effective way to review letters and sounds. They bring items each week that correspond with the sound they are assigned. This activity has been awesome, because EBug will go around the house looking for an object and get opportunities to practice tons of other sounds in the process.
BOB books. Now, these are just awesome. After teaching all the letters, I had no idea the next step. There are so many blends and combinations and blah blah blah. The BOB books really do that analyzing for you. We use the books as a springboard for practicing phonics and building words. They start with some simple letter combinations to make easy to read stories that the kids love. Just their speed. You can buy them in a set, and each book is perfectly sized for little hands. Ev loves to showcase her reading abilities, which is great practice. Grandparents, get ready to listen to some BOB books.
Read Aloud. We have started including a read aloud story in our lessons too. Kids love to be read to. I remember reading to my fourth graders when I taught, and it was one of their favorite times of day.Veritas Workbook. We have introduced a little workbook action. They are just too cute doing it. We are starting with some listening pages, where they color the picture that starts with the sound we give. Game Time is a big hit. We do simple games that allow them to move around and play together. Watching their friendships grow and blossom has been one of the sweetest parts of all this.
Math does not come as naturally to me to teach. It seems like there are several different directions to go after teaching numbers 1-20. Right now we are focusing on patterns. This has been a great starting place with lots of options for activities. From there, we will probably work on number sense.
Snack is always part of our morning and is highly anticipated by the preschoolers. The snack no longer coordinates with anything, which is kind of nice. It’s just whatever we guess they will like. Not always as easy as it sounds.
We like to finish the morning with a craft. This is maybe my favorite part to plan and watch them do. They seem to really enjoy it, and we tie in some phonics practice by glueing down words that label the craft. It’s fun to display Ev’s hard work and for her to have something to show daddy when he gets home to tell him about all we learned. During the week we each work with our kids at home, one on one, to practice the verse, the sounds, and the BOB books. I am always struck by how effective (and fun!) this time with her is. Building words and eating popcorn is an awesome afternoon activity. She loves it.
Little brothers are absent from photos, because the moms who are not teaching for that day take the little boys to another room for some toddler time. This has been the biggest stroke of genius. It allows for the time with the preschoolers to be maximized.
I am so thankful for these friends the Lord has blessed me with. Preschool playgroup is not perfect; it can definitely feel like herding cats sometimes, but it is a treasure to me. It’s exciting to watch these little learners blossom, and I am just thankful for this collaboration with these girls. Such a treat.