Moose loves the idea of school, so I want to encourage that. I can remember HATING school as a child, and being afraid of missing deadlines & not getting answers right. (I still have nightmares that I'm in school & I don't have my homework finished). I want to encourage his love for learning, and make school fun for him. Our neighbor, Miss Sharon, gave Moose a brand new spongebob backpack, and since then he puts it on every day and says "Bye Mommy I goin to school" or "Mommy, you wanna go to school with me?" He really REALLY wants to go to school, so I searched the internet & asked around about preschools in our area. No one is taking non-potty trained 2 year olds, and I'd already tossed around the idea of homeschooling, so I thought why not give it a try with preschool? He's a very bright 2 year old (I know, every parent says that, right?), so I thought we'd start now, while he's still excited about it. And all of our regular activities can become part of school. Our regular zoo trips and other outings are now "field trips". Swim lessons are now "gym class". The easiest way to get a toddler excited is to give something a new name!
I perused the internet for preschool curriculums, and quickly became overwhelmed. I bookmarked the first 2 sites with free info I could find (everyone is selling their curriculum for hundreds of dollars), and actually think they will be very useful, but since my son wants to start yesterday, I haven't even started any sort of lesson plan. We mentioned our idea at a La Leche League meeting this morning, and one of our leaders handed me a book called "Playful Learning: An Alternative Approach to Preschool". It was exactly what I'd been looking for. I immediately hit the half price bookstore to see if I could find it- I could have borrowed it from LLL, but I needed to have this book to keep and follow as our curriculum. The bookstore didn't have it, but I found some other interesting books- "A Parent's Treasure Box of Ideas for Preschoolers", and "How Come?". Luckily amazon.com had the LLL book (used for $3.99!), and we've ordered it. Then we hit up the dollar store for brand new activity books, flash cards, markers, construction paper, safety scissors, pretty much everything in the stationary aisle. We ended up spending $25 at the dollar store- definitely the most I've ever spent there, but seriously a deal! Where else can you get 25 different school supplies for just $25? Not to mention the shopping trip made Moose that much more excited about starting school.
Then we got home and cleared his toddler table for his first lesson. I let him pick what he wanted to do. We read about things that float, then we learned our shapes, colors, numbers, and opposites with the help of our awesome new ($1) Sesame Street flash cards. I was amazed to see that Moose knows a triangle, circle, and the color blue with no prompting. (He still thinks it's hilarious to tell me red is actually green). And even though it was past his nap time, he was really into the flash cards, and wanted to keep going onto the next set. Then we used our new "giant markers" to color in our new activity book. Moose concentrated on taking all the caps off, placing them on the other end of the marker so they were all ready for coloring, and then he recapped them all put them away while singing the clean up song.
We started a sticker chart to track what we do each day, which of course makes the whole experience that much better...of course he wants to go to school, he gets stickers! and not just any stickers, laser dinosaur stickers!
All in all our first lesson was less than an hour, but I'd say pretty successful for a completely unplanned, right before nap lesson.