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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tot School: How It Works

This post is for those of you who are unfamiliar with "tot school" and have questions or are curious on how you can get started. 


First, let me start out by saying that "tot school" doesn't mean that I make my son sit at home and do school all day every day. In fact, we probably only spend about an hour or less a day doing scheduled tot school activities because at twenty-one months old K's attention span is very short. Although I do try and spend this hour at the same time everyday, I realize that sometimes he just isn't into it and we will do something else until he is.


Since I am a stay at home I find that it can be really easy to get into a rut and let him watch TV or just have free play time. But being an early childhood educator I feel strongly about encouraging him to learn through Montessori inspired activities. I also realize that since he doesn't go to daycare he isn't exposed to socializing with other children, crafts, songs and play as frequently and therefore I have made it my responsibility to expose him to all of these things from an early age.


If you are interested in "Tot Schooling" here are some ideas on how to get started:


1. Make a schedule and plan on a topic per week/ every 2 weeks. This can be learning about animals, colours, shapes, body parts, emotions etc. 


2. After I choose my weekly theme I break my days down into specific activities. This is what our weekly schedule looks like:
This week the theme was learning about the colour red. Our week looked something like this:

Monday: Red Mosaic Apple Picture (cut and glue red paper onto the apple)
and glue pictures that are red into colour book while practicing saying the names. (we review this picture every day)
Tuesday: Help mom make red jello jigglers and eat them for a snack
Wednesday: Play with red playdough. Practice rolling balls and using the rolling pin and cookie cutters.
Thursday: Help mom with chores by helping to dust, sweep up the leaves outside and to place clean clothes into the laundry basket.
Friday: Lunch date and play at the park. Look for things that are red and practice saying the words.
3. Pick a felt board that you can work on, play and memorize the song with. At the moment we do one felt board per month but as K gets older I will change them up more frequently. This month we are learning "Red Fish, Red Fish What Do You See". If you aren't interested in a felt board then just do a song.


4. Pick a sentence or two to practice asking and answering. This week we are continuing to work on "How Are You Today?" and we are working on happy and sad.


5. Give free play time with a variety of Montessori activities. I use my Busy Bag Activities  but he also plays with puzzles, legos, puppets and bristle blocks.


6. Teach him a new fun game or activity. This week we built towers out of couch cushions.


Because I'm a teacher it doesn't take me very long to find ideas and make a schedule. However, I realize that if you are new to lesson planning it can take a while to get the hang of it. There are lots of great sites and free printables out there and I will be sharing some of my favorites in blog posts to come. In the mean time, why not head over to 1+1+1=1 to get some ideas.


If you are looking for a tot school lesson planning template to help you get organized I've made one for you. Please note that it is for personal use only:
Tot School Planner


Wishing you lots of success and fun in your tot schooling adventures!
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I'm linking to Tot School at 1+1+1=1

15 comments:

  1. These are great ideas. I would like to do something similar, but it just doesn't seem to be happening. I should really sit down and make a schedule for next week right NOW!

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  2. Thank you for posting about this. I also have an education background and have been doing some form of this during the summer. I love your theme days though and might do something similar!

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  3. Thanks for this post. I'm just starting out a bit of Tot School with my 17 month old, and I'm struggling a bit for ideas (but am doing lots of reading on Montessori education). This really helps!

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  4. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I need to implement some of these ideas for my 2 and a half year old. We need more structure during our days at home together!

    Love your blog & I'm now a follower :)

    Sarah

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  5. Thanks for your comment on my blog; I'm now a follower of yours. I'd love to be linked in every Tuesday.

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  6. Thanks for the tips and explanations! I am trying to do 'tot school' stuff with my son but being a high school math teacher, it is taking me a while to switch modes to preschool activities! :) I am excited to start planning again...how sad and nerdy! :)

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  7. Great ideas! I tried to do something similar with my son who's going off the Kindergarten now. It was difficult. This would have been really helpful.

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  8. This is fabulous; thanks for sharing! I wish all of my students' parents were as involved and committed to their children as you are!!

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  9. Wow! This is awesome. Love your "red" week schedule...what a great resource for mothers looking to start out.

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  10. Oh what a great idea!! I love this :) It's such a great way to focus on a concept without overdoing it. Thanks for the tips!

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  11. What a lucky little boy. All the together-time in these early years will pay big dividends in the future.

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  12. I love the schedule that you made. Before I know it, my little man will be ready for Tot School. At 6 months old, we are having lots of fun with books, sensory toys, and singing/rhymes.

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  13. New follower here! I love your idea, I do this already, as I do daycare in my home. I look forward to finding great ideas here! Come check out my blog sometime!

    Cara

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  14. New follower! Just starting to learn more about "tot school" for my just-turned 2 year old! Thanks for your post! :)

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  15. Hi! Just found you via Pininterest! I love your ideas and as a former educator, I too am always on the lookout for educational ideas for my 3 year old!

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Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. I love reading comments and appreciate each and every one. Have a wonderful day & thanks for stopping by!

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