We are actually half-way through using a homemade Wheel of the Year calender as a focus for learning activities for preschoolers (age 3, 5, and just turned 6).
Just got interrupted. Will be back to edit this post with more details.
is the standard calendar set I've been using for years with my own and home daycare children of toddler-early elementary years. Boring. But this is what time looks like for most early childhood/elementary kids.
Last September, the older preschoolers and I made a Wheel of the Year calendar,
which involved writing practice, circle geometry, lots of learning. Here
is a closeupThis is the Wheel calendar
after 6 months (faded, now!). I am already planning to add more for next year -- photos of seasonal changes in our garden, more tags for religious holidays of other faiths, and definitely the moon phases and cross-quarter Pagan holidays. I think the children will learn a lot where holidays cluster, such as on Feb 2, which has Pagan, Catholic, and secular meaning (Groundhog's Day).
We have talked about the origins of the days of the week, and next year I'll use this as a springboard for Scandinavian mythology, I think.
I still haven't figured out what to put in the white space, so I will probably make that smaller with the next one.
I was thinking about making a reusable felt version, but, honestly, I think the kids get more value out of having made it themselves -- they "own" this calendar.
Editing again because I wanted to make clear that I am using both the preschool month calendar and the Wheel calender in conjunction. We do a calendar time together at the start of each month, switch over the numbers/holidays on the monthly calender and update our Wheel at the same time. Lots of earth/spirituality/ world religion activities have come out of the focus on holidays, especially the Winter Solstice, Day of the Dead, and Chinese New Year. I can see this approach working very well for older kids who are ready for more sophisticated materials.
I think using the two calenders together helps the children understand that there are different models for representing the same thing (time) and that different models do different things well. I'd love to have more calendars and timelines to juxtapose with these. We talked about the 12 year Chinese Zodiac cycle, for example. And with older children, timelines would be interesting -- it is 4706 in the Chinese calender, 2010 in the western one. Why the difference? etc.