Help with my "unpreschool" - Mothering Forums
Learning at Home and Beyond > Help with my "unpreschool"
pure's Avatar pure 04:44 PM 05-22-2008
My friends and I all have children roughly the same age (2-2.5 yrs). They were all getting worked up over what preschool to put their child on the waitlist for when I spoke up and said that I wasn't sending my child to preschool next year and maybe not ever. I half jokingly suggested an "unpreschool movement" to them and some of them are very interested!!!
Here is what I need-ideas about activities for 3-4 year olds to "teach" them skills needed for school. I'm not talking spelling or anything like that, but listening, sitting still, etc.
I plan to have storytime at the park (like in Mothering this month).

My ideal preschool would involve playing outside, baking, making crafts, tending to animals, reading books, music, dance, field trips to farms, museums, etc, and absolute parental co-operation. It would be low cost (charge to cover supplies only-preschools here are $180-$280/month for 2 days a week, 2 hours a day).

Most, and maybe all, of these parents will eventually be sending their kids to school, so I like the idea of them getting to be children for two years longer than they would have.

Does anybody have any ideas for this age group?

Lillian J's Avatar Lillian J 04:57 PM 05-22-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by pure View Post
Here is what I need-ideas about activities for 3-4 year olds to "teach" them skills needed for school. I'm not talking spelling or anything like that, but listening, sitting still, etc.
I plan to have storytime at the park (like in Mothering this month).

My ideal preschool would involve playing outside, baking, making crafts, tending to animals, reading books, music, dance, field trips to farms, museums, etc, and absolute parental co-operation. It would be low cost (charge to cover supplies only-preschools here are $180-$280/month for 2 days a week, 2 hours a day).
Sounds great - although I'd hold off on the part about teaching them to listen and sit still - it doesn't take a lot of practice to get the idea about how to do that once they get closer to the age when they'll need to do it for school. You can find lots of fun activity ideas through my preschool/kindergarten page - be sure to look underneath the box of articles for a list of websites that are full of great ideas.

Have fun! - Lillian

pure's Avatar pure 05:08 PM 05-22-2008
Wow Lillian!! Thanks so much. That is EXACTLY what I was looking for. I have bookmarked it.
I should have added that I wasn't planning on starting my "unpreschool" until age 4, but our kids meet weekly to play, so I was just going to have casual storytime now for whoever wanted to come.
Love_My_Babies's Avatar Love_My_Babies 05:22 PM 05-22-2008
I am in a group of seven moms (most of us are MDC moms!) that are also not doing conventional preschool. We came together to form a preschool co-op of sorts. We have 13 kids ages newborn to 4 years -- 11 of which are boys. We started a few months ago meeting on Monday mornings for what we call Learning Circle. We rotate to each mom's house, and she is the teacher for the morning. One mom painted carpet squares with the children's names on them. The older kids sit on their mats and listen to a book and songs about the theme the mom has chosen. The younger kids still wander and around, but they will catch on soon enough learning from the big kids. Then, they all do a theme and age appropriate craft or activity. Next, they share a snack followed by free play. Finally, they help clean up and go home. The book/song is preceded by the mom reminding the kids (with picture/word charts) of the "schedule" for the morning and the Learning Circle rules (i.e. no hitting, no fighting, no throwing, no yelling, share, and have fun). We have a carpet square with "Time Out" written on it as a universal concequence for breaking the rules (only to be applied when the mom thinks the child is old enough). We tend to do earthy themes such as Spring Robins, Spring Season, farm animals, etc. We have talked about incorporating a letter or number of the week, but we haven't done so yet because our goals for the group (for the most part) are not academic. We also started meeting at the park just recently on Friday mornings for an organized game or sport (i.e. each child hits the t-ball, runs the bases, and then everyone loses interest) followed by free play at the park.

My personal wishes and intentions for forming this group were to provide my children with their own community of children younger, same age, and older than themselves for them to learn from and teach to. My 3 yo loves circle time! He loves learning new games from the older boys just as much as he loves teaching the younger children the rules.

It is very important that you first make sure that each of the moms you are speaking with have compatible goals for "preschool". Does she want her child to learn his ABC's, have a constant group of friends to do activities with, etc.?

Good luck.
Lillian J's Avatar Lillian J 05:28 PM 05-22-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by pure View Post
I should have added that I wasn't planning on starting my "unpreschool" until age 4...
Well, maybe one day we'll be seeing a post from you here asking about how to do a group unkindergarten too! Lillian
Aubergine68's Avatar Aubergine68 07:02 PM 05-22-2008
I used this book and site as a starting point for doing preschool at home with my ds, who turned 4 in February, and a couple of his friends in my in-home daycare.

http://kitchentablepreschool.com/

I'm very interested in this topic -- want to make it a little more structured next year as I'm holding ds back from kindergarten (he's only 4.5, old enough for K according to local rules, academically ready, maturity wise, not so much).
fullhandswith3's Avatar fullhandswith3 04:47 PM 05-27-2008
Not sure if this is what you are looking for or not but I totally understand where you are coming from.

We recently changed to the free preschool Bible Curriculum

www.abcjesuslovesme.com

It is geared toward the active preschooler and busy mom. There are practical ideas throughout the curriculum that can be done throughout a normal day. It is not a lot of sit down time.

Hope this helps!!
TanyaMT's Avatar TanyaMT 04:58 PM 05-27-2008
Sounds like you already know what to do.

We just had fun at that stage, cooked together, played, did chores side by side (laundry, etc), played with playdoh to help with fine motor a little, fingerpainting, using paint brushes if he wanted, climbing on the playground, walking around the neighborhood and talking about whatever caught his eye, etc. Just being together and talking together.

As preparation for sitting still and listening, we just read as we normally did. If the book was good and interesting (usually picked out by the child), he sat still until he was bored, and then we stopped and moved on to the next thing. Gradually he sat longer and longer and wanted to be read to longer and longer as a natural progression.

My 2nd child is now in that stage, and we are doing the same thing. It worked for the first.
pure's Avatar pure 07:00 PM 05-27-2008
Thanks everybody for the suggestions. We requested the Kitchen Table book at the library, as well as I Love Dirt.

I put in a homeschoolers account request to Mercurius, but where else do you get your art supplies? I am sick of Crayola. I have made our playdough, and that is easy, but I am loving the stockmar and lyra stuff.
Stephenie's Avatar Stephenie 09:16 PM 05-27-2008
Love my babies, that osounds like a wonderful group!
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