Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tot School {Simplified}

Since I'm still feeling like a newbie with Tot School I'm constantly working out kinks and I feel like I'm taking two step forward and one step back.  I love my notebook, school in a bag, and of course the 1+1+1 printables, but something just wasn't working.  Honestly, I think we were trying to do to much.

Each week I printed out the letter of the week activities for Addi and I think we could done each letter for two weeks.   On top of that I was trying to do theme play dough, songs, books, etc for each week. So what did I decide to do?  After the "holiday rush" I'll experiment more, but this is what I'm thinking:

CALENDAR TIME: Recently I found a calendar time I absolutely adored! They get to choose what the weather is like outside and what color their wearing.  Once we get going I think we will quickly be able to change the format, but it's super simple to start with.  And I'm all about simplifying! 

THIS WEEK IN TOT SCHOOL: For each month I will create an over all theme, to go with the season. 

November - Fall/Thankfulness 

December - Christmas
January - Winter

Then I will create a few activities that will go with the over all monthly theme and use the printables packets for two weeks. Honestly, I think using printable packets for more then one week will make a huge difference for us.  We will be saving ink, paper, and time.  I was finding myself not using all of the sheets, so now I have enough left over sheets to probably last us all next month.  To bad it's not for next month's theme.  

ARTS & CRAFTS: Each week I want to do one craft to go with the theme.  To some that might not seem like a lot, but we have our favorite crafty activity, play dough, and we go to a story time each week where she also does craft.  Plus church nursery and general coloring, so I'm comfortable with this decision.  I'm the type person that if I commit to much I am setting myself up for failure.  Saying I'll do more then one craft a week would mean I am setting myself up for failure.

PLAY DOUGH: Each month I will make play dough for the month's theme.  October and November was fall spiced play dough, December will be candy cane play dough, January will be sparkly snow play dough, etc. In general I will keep this the same for the whole month, but if something isn't working or I find something in the $1 section I'll add it.

BOOK BIN: Each week we go to the library for story time and a children's music class.  So I try to plan what books I want from the library a few weeks in advance.  I go onto my favorite website to find what books are recommend for the theme, make my list, then check our library database.  That way I go into the library with a plan.  Usually I write down ten books, but sometimes I walk out with four and other times all ten are on the shelves. I also use books from my personal library as well.

Now I want to start using library books for a few weeks instead of switching each week.  Before I didn't want to use pumpkin books if it wasn't pumpkin week, instead of using pumpkins, leaves, acorn books all month long. 

Hopefully these changes will help us not only learn more, but also simplify so we can have more fun!

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