More from M Preschool

Pshaw!  It was one heck of a weekend.  We had absolutely nothing beyond church scheduled, but we managed to pack in a lot of fun family time.  Much to be said about that in the coming days.

First I want to answer some questions about our little preschool.  I had no idea that posting about what we've been up to at home would generate so much interest.  So to answer the BIG question, the curriculum outline I'm using is the Raising Rock Stars Preschool.  I don't have space or resources right now to have the whole bulletin board thing, but I'm running with an organized attack on a bible verse, letter, number, color, and sight word.  All three kids know Matthew 5:16 now, so we'll likely be moving on to the next unit, letter T, in the next day or so.

My "center" areas are not as well organized as her work boxes, but they pretty much cover the same idea.  One center that stays the same every day is the reading center.  Each of my darlings loves spending time curled up with a good book or two, and for the past several days I've had to run them out of that center to let the next child have a turn.  The first several days I set a timer for five minutes and rotated the kids from center to center in a circular motion.  But that started to bring about frustration as some things took one child longer than the others so for the past two days we have experimented with free movement.  The rules are that you can't go to a center where anyone else is sitting, and that you have to finish them all before you get to go to the free play centers.  We still have a few kinks to work out, but overall it is going very well.  Right now I'm loving planning for it and the kids ask for it every day (and we are not doing preschool every day, I'm aiming for three days a week).  We'll see how I feel by the end of September...

And now for some of our favorite centers from the past week.  (Taken over the course of our past three preschool days ~ you'll notice that Kylie is wearing a gymnastics leotard two of the days.  One advantage to not having to leave the house for preschool.  Oh, the day I didn't take pictures we had preschool in our pajamas with bed head!)

Letter building.  I "heart" Handwriting Without Tears.  We used it at Elite Preschool where I used to teach.  I saw amazing things come from kids using it before they started writing letters.  This magnetic board totally amazes my kids.

Handwriting Without Tears shows how to create all letters using four shapes.  Big line, little line, big curve and little curve.  A few snips of paper creates big and little lines to use for gluing letters.

Color focus.  Easiest center of all.  They match the color samples like a puzzle. (Thank you Home Depot!)

Coloring with one color.  I ordered these workbooks from Handwriting Without Tears.  The workbook is the only part that I perhaps would not order again.  But the "focus on one color with simple pictures" coloring has made a big difference in coloring for my kids.  So maybe I would order it again.

Coloring sheet.  Anyone that knows my kids should be particularly amazed with Caleb's concentration on the number 1.  This is HUGE!  And this was our wrap up the day we did the workbook page above.  


Letter L coloring page (from this site).  Even Kylie's coloring has drastically improved over the course of the past week.  She is now quite careful to stay in the lines.

Fine motor skills and letter practice.  Each kid had fun using a Q-tip to apply glue to the lights on this letter L page  (found here) and sticking on a sequin.  After they were done we counted the number of lights together.

Puzzles.  We have a variety of puzzles.  All my gang loves them, especially Darcy.

Number recognition and sequencing.

Sorting.  Again, you'd be amazed of the ideas you can come up with using craft supplies and recycled plastic containers.  And I have to give credit for the chopsticks (even though they are "cheater chopsticks") to my darling husband.  Even he is getting into the fun of M_______ preschool!

Sorting/patterns/fine motor skills.  Before center time we discussed AB patterns.  I had yellow beads in a small bowl and told them they had to use yellow as their A color.  Then they had to select a second color, pick it out of the big bead bowl, and string them onto a pipe cleaner.  We then twisted them and made them into bracelets.

Name/letter recognition.  I printed their names on paper and cut one into individual letters.  We used yellow construction paper as our background and they glued their names down.  Soon I'll introduce the lowercase letters that are in their names as well.

Beginning  math skills.  I bought this little set last year when all those Scholastic fliers came home with Kylie and Caleb from their preschool.  Lots of skills can be covered with these.  Right now Darcy and Caleb mostly were focused on matching up the exact dinosaur on the page and then counting.  Kylie is starting to understand the number sentences that are at the bottom.

One thing that is interesting is starting to see their personalities come though as the same three kids do the same activities.  I didn't get a shot of Kylie with the dinos today (I think Caleb was painting while she was working with them), but differences in Caleb and Darcy's styles show in the pictures I took of them.

Darcy left the dinos in a heap and had to search carefully for each one.
Caleb preferred to sort the dinos by color at the beginning and found it easier to locate the correct dino that way.
We also did several free yellow painting (I gave them various shaped sponges and brushes to use), continued the reading center, and used the beads and pipe cleaners with numbers to practice numeral recognition and those important fine motor skills.

And last, a little personality test.  I have pictures of all three kids concentrating while pulling off the plastic backing from these foam stickers (bought a HUGE bucket of shapes for less than $5 at a craft store ~ oh the possibilities), but showing you that practice in fine motor skills would give away whose is whose.  Before center time started I told them they could either use one color for each number, or one shape for each number, or do any type of mix that they wanted.  Any guesses as to whose number sheet is whose?


Ann Marie said...

Looks like fun. This is part of the curriculum I am using for Lily too. :) Too bad we don't live closer...we could co-op.

Grandma Shultz said...

Sounds like you are having fun at your centers, Kylie, Caleb and Darcy. Grandma wants to come up and watch you working. Is Caleb's numbers on the top, Darcy's in the middle and Kylie's on the bottom?
This is fun guessing.
Love you.

Traci said...

cool stuff! Looks like m___ school is going well!

Rachelle said...

What a great pre-school you have going! Your making eternal investments, mama.

We have the same Dinos! My boys love sorting and counting them.

Laurie said...

I am loving these posts! I'm getting so many good ideas. The pictures just make it even more fun! My guess is: Darcy, Caleb, Kylie

Nancy said...

Awesome post! Thank you for sharing what you are doing and the links! We haven't quite started preschool (except reading & flashcards) like I've wanted to yet.

Andrea said...

this is getting bookmarked! Oh and in the picture of them coloring the 1 page... I thought for sure Darcy had a tarantula on her right shoulder!

Lindy said...

Ok, without reading the other comments, here is my guess:

1. Caleb - because it is done well but without any particular pattern.
2. Kylie - because it is all hearts and this girl is all heart.
3. Darcy - because it is done by color and she seems to be a methodical kid.

Your home school sounds great. How nice you have a wonderful teaching background to draw upon.

Melissa said...

This is so great, Kristi - what fun to read about and look at the kids little faces as they concentrate and work so hard as they are learning.

Annie said...

Wow!!! I bow to the master:) You just have the best ideas!!

C.C. said...

You ROCK!!