I have recently had conversations with several different moms who were fearful they could not ‘do’ preschool at home with their children. They had heard of great preschools in their area or were told their little one needing more socializing or feared they didn’t know enough or have enough patience, yet they really did not like the idea of sending their child away at such a young age. They asked for my opinion, so I shared it with them, and now I share with you. I do not see formal preschool as a necessary thing.
We chose not to send our children away to preschool. I don’t remember ever wrestling over that decision, it’s just what we did, it was our lifestyle. Our youngest children are now elementary age and our oldest children are successful, productive adults. They survived, even thrived, being at home with Mom and siblings, growing and developing and loving life. In my opinion, the important thing for my children in those preschool years was opportunity – opportunity to discover and play and explore. Given the opportunity, children naturally learn.
Though it looks different for each family, those opportunities are all around us. What do those opportunities look like? You can do preschool at home, using what you have, and be successful. Over the next 3 days I’d like to show you a little of what it has looked like at our house:
- File Folder Games – I cut out cupcake shapes from colored paper, made a pocket by folding a piece of paper and glued them to the inside of a file folder. With a marker I numbered the cupcakes 1 to 10 and used a scrapbooking punch (any hole punch would work) to make ‘sprinkles’ so my preschooler could play pastry-chef-baker while counting out the sprinkles and practice number recognition. You can adapt this for colors, shapes, sight words, states & capitals, whatever! If you don’t think you are up to the task of creating your own, you can find some terrific games at File Folder Fun
- Learn Shapes Together – Cut shapes from poster board or cardboard, each shape in 3 sizes and let them line up and sort like shapes with like shapes, or from smallest to largest.
- Play Twister – Everyone can get in on this game together. A great Phys Ed activity, helps with large motor skills, color recognition, cooperation, right/left. A variation on this theme – have child/children stand along outside border, call out 2 or 3 different colors and have child jump from one to the next in proper sequence. Or, count the circles as they step from one to the next.
- Match the Colors – Cut a large circle from cardboard ( a pizza box works great!) and divide it into 6 or 8 sections. Color each section a different color and take the same number of wooden clothes pins, coloring them to match. Have child draw clothes pin out of a bucket and clip to matching color. You can add the color words for word recognition as well.
- The Great Outdoors – there is no better place to learn than in God’s Classroom. Given the chance, they will get up close and personal with toads and bunnies and caterpillars. They will dissect flowers and dig up roots and scatter seeds. They will breath in fresh air and build strong bones and muscles. They will appreciate and understand this world God made just for us.
- Watch the Road Signs– One day, driving to a friend’s house, one of my little guys called out “Oh, no! We missed our road!” I was certain I had not missed any turns, so I quizzed my young navigator – “What do you mean? This is the road we always take.” He answered that we had passed Highway A, and AA, and B and C but we just passed K so we must have missed Highways D and F! I had no idea he was even aware of the roadsigns, let alone that he recognized the letters on them.
I’ll be back tomorrow with more ideas, but in the meantime I’d be thrilled if you’d pop over and visit my pinterest board for preschool where you’ll find more ideas. I’ve been collecting them just for you!
For more Preschool at Home ideas see Part 2 and Part 3.
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Lovely post with some great ideas! I’ve found that the preschoolers enjoy looking onto the kindergartener’s work and ‘helping.’ Blessings!
Thank you Cameron for your sweet comment. You are right, the younger ones really do pick up a lot from the older ones. And the older children learn a lot by teaching the younger children! I’ll be sharing more ideas over the next two days, hope you come back to visit soon.
I love your way to preschool!! Children have such a rich life if we only talk with them and bring them along into all of our ventures!
Hi Cheryl – ‘a rich life’ – yes! love the way you word it. Forcing our schooling/learning into someone else’s idea of education can stifle our children. I’m so thankful for the freedom to let my children be children and learn in ways that come naturally. So glad you stopped in today.
Emma @ P is for Preschooler says
I love these ideas for everyday learning. I think the important thing for parents to remember is that preschoolers are programmed to learn; they will pick things up even if we don’t think we’re teaching them the “right” way. They learn by playing, listening, exploring and asking questions. And I love the story about your son and the road signs. Sometimes my 4-year-old surprises me with things I had no idea she really knew too! lol
You are so right, Emma. We don’t need to worry about ‘doing’ it right. Those little ones really are designed to naturally learn and absorb the world around them. Taking cues from our children, seeing their interests and discoveries will give us plenty of material for ‘teaching’ preschool. Enjoy your little ones this week!
Laura Lane says
It looks like you have fun. I miss those days.
Harvest Lane Cottage
Though it can be a tiring and trying season of life, I always enjoyed having preschoolers Now my youngest is out of that stage and we are enjoying preschool-aged grandchildren! Thanks for stopping in, Laura. Blessings!
Judith at WholeHearted Home says
We chose to keep our son home for pre-school and do it ourselves. That was 30 years and 6 other children later. I have never regretted it. Great post with great ideas!!
I’m with you, Judith. I loved the time I had with my children when they were small, we learned from each other and I think I grew so much (and they have too!) by having them at home with me. Thanks for your encouragement, Blessings!
Jaimi@The Stay-at-Home-Mom Survival Guide says
Good for you for sharing this encouragement to dispel the idea that teaching our children preschool at home has to be complicated. It is one of my missions as well to motivate parents to understand (even as a former preschool teacher) that paying for preschool is not necessary. These are wonderful, effective, simple ideas that are my favorite…and my children’s as well. Best to you!
Hello, Jaimi, and welcome to Apron Strings & other things! This topic of having our children close to us is near and dear to my heart. It is a fun, exciting and rewarding (yes, challenging too) lifestyle to be growing and learning right along side with our children, but a very natural and necessary thing too. I love hearing of your mission – popping over to see how you address this topic. Thank you for stopping in and for leaving your sweet comment!
This is great…I knew even before we decided to homeschool that our children wouldn’t be going to preschool but family (who had lived in our town previously) were always asking if our kids were going to the town’s preschool. “it is so great!” They had trouble understanding that our two little ones could learn as much at home as they would in preschool.
aww, I am glad you stuck to your convictions, Kristen. I’ve never regretted having my children home during those years. They learn and grow and develop so much during that time I didn’t want to miss out on a thing!
Paula Short says
These are great sound ideas. I taught preschool before I moved into Social Work. I remember file folder games. Outdoors are so important today, in a society that many children play video games for hours on end. Love your message today friend.
Visiting today from Encouraging Hearts & Home #4&5