Since Sicily is still only 18 months, we never really stopped Tot School for the summer. With the new school year quickly approaching, I’ve made a few changes and thought now would be a good time to implement them. I’ve tried many different schedules and types of activities over the past few months trying to find the perfect mix for Sicily.
I’ve also went through my own learning curve to figure out what would work for us. I kept reading about Montessori and Reggio, but never really felt comfortable implementing one method completely. So here is what I’ve decided for this school year.
Our Tot School method is…well…our method. I love how Reggio is completely child-led and lessons are not planned in advanced since you don’t know what the child may be interested in 5 months down the road. However, I am not comfortable with letting Sicily decide when to learn academic things such as colors, shapes, letters, and numbers.
So for our Tot School method, I will follow Sicily’s lead for themes. Our themes may last a day or may last a few months. It all depends on Sicily’s interests. I have scheduled a Project Time into our day. Since Sicily is still young and cannot communicate how she wants to learn or asks questions to give me clues to what she wants to learn, we are using our project time to do an activity that I plan around her interest. My hope is that she will soon begin asking questions and I can plan activities around the questions she asks that will help her determine the answers on her own. This probably won’t happen until she is 3 years old. Around the end of 3 years, my hope is that Sicily can start to tell me how she wants to spend her time during project time.
Related: The Toddler Experience: A Hands-On Toddler Curriculum
As for academics, I’m going to follow my instincts and teach these concepts through play based activities. I still want to keep the activities child-led, so that means I will introduce the activity and let her continue as she sees bests. For example, if I introduce a sorting activity and all she wants to do is fill and dump the buckets, I’ll let her continue that way. This means she isn’t really ready to learn how to sort and is more interested in filling/dumping, which tells me to plan more filling/dumping activities. However, she is still being introduced to color names and the concept of sorting. Eventually, she will begin to sort on her own. I just felt more comfortable with a plan to introduce important concepts instead of leaving it entirely up to her.
Our Tot School Schedule
Our day typically begins around 6:45 with breakfast, free play, and getting ready. We start school time around 9:00, except for Monday and Friday. Monday she spends time with her great grandparents, and Friday is our day for field trips and lunch with her grandmother.
9:00 Snack and Morning Meeting
I will be introducing the calendar, weather, and a daily schedule to Sicily soon through a morning board.
9:30 Story Time
9:45 Project Time
This is where we work on her interests. It may be reading books, doing an art project, sensory bins, or small world play. It could really be anything I choose to do as long as it fits with her interests.
10:30 Free Play
11:00 Learning Activity
At this time, I will introduce an activity that meets some more academic skills. This might be a fine motor, colors, shapes, letters, numbers, or cognitive activity. I will not change the activity everyday either. She’s young and I don’t want to overwhelm her. The activity will stay on the shelf and be pulled out all week.
12:45 Story Time
We also signed Sicily up for two classes. On Wednesday, she will be doing a music and motion class which I think she will enjoy. She loves music and dancing. On Saturday, she will be starting Mommy and Me Tae Kwon Do which should be super fun! I’m excited for that one.
My Main Learning Goals
By the end of the school year, I’m hoping Sicily
1.Knows the basic colors and basic shapes
2.Is beginning to use scissors
3.Is asking questions that help me determine what she wants to learn
4.Is observant and likes to explore
Well that’s it for this school year. Things are always changing around here and with a new baby coming in February, I’m not sure how our schedule will change. Sicily is very excited to be a big sister though!
Your Turn: What are your goals for the upcoming school year?