August’s mid-point is here and, although I know we have a lot of summer left yet, I cannot help but to think about fall.
Luke is now official kindergarten age, so the Teacher/Planner in me longs to do what she loves doing – to collect resources, synthesize ideas and lay out a plan for his first official year of elementary school. The Momma in me, however, wants to stay true to a promise I made myself (and our youngest) some time ago – that our last shall sometimes be first. So, I have decided to let the Teacher/Planner have at it, but to direct her towards the Infant-Toddler age first.
Yep, that means I am geared up to synthesize plans for Jack’s fall “curriculum” using ideas of my own, along with those I have gleaned from many of the books and online resources I have browsed over the years. Among those online resources, there is one that stands out strongly, which I would like to give thanks to – Brightly Beaming Resources. I do not use the curriculum it lays out for ages zero on up “as is”, but I do find myself popping over for lots of inspiration. It really is a great site.
Now, as far as my Fall plan for Jack goes, I use the word “curriculum” lightly.
While the notes below may seem to indicate a do-this-now-and-this-then type of program, the “subjects” I have included in it are for my mental organization only. I don’t aim to force any “subject” or “lesson”, but, rather, to enrich Jack’s days with purposeful, enjoyable experiences, which include quality mommy-and-me, sibling-and-me and hey-look-at-me times. In other words, I have delineated ideas to satiate my Type A side, but hope to implement them in a way that is comfortable for my more laissez-faire kiddoes.
Now, with no further ado:
Jack’s Infant-Toddler Curriculum
- Listen to and sing Bible songs and scripture set to music, particularly those on the Hide ‘Em in Your Heart CD’s.
- Be present at daily devotional time.
- Read Bible and faith-based stories together.
- Read Psalms and Proverbs together.
- Participate with family in faith-based activities and events, such as Mass, Adoration, Liturgical Year celebrations, etc.
- Play with Bible and faith-based story manipulatives, such as figurines, felt stories, etc.
- Perhaps do some Sacred Music or Sacred Art appreciation activities.
- Listen to nursery rhymes and selections from A.A. Milne’s When We Were Young and Now We are Six, Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses and Laura Berquist’s The Harp and the Laurel Wreath read aloud, read on CD or set to music.
- Play with poetry manipulatives using poetry baskets, felt and magnet stories, nursery rhyme blocks, etc.
Book-of-the-Week Read Aloud/Literature:
- Read and enjoy age-appropriate literature, with the same books being read multiple times throughout a given week or month.
Sign and Spoken Language:
- Introduce and increase use of sign language by refocusing family efforts to use sign.
- Watch Signing Times.
- Do activities from Baby Sing and Sign, reviewed here.
- Increase expressive and receptive language by having more focused times for naming, describing, comparing, explaining and giving directions.
- Begin using U-Play Mat together.
Family Work/Practical Life:
- Be present for – and participate as possible – with Family Work Time.
- Do Montessori-inspired Practical Life activities for care of self and environment.
- Listen to classical music in the background while doing other things.
- Listen to classical music in the car and at quiet times, too.
- Sometimes, look at pictures of classical music artists while their music is playing and hear their names.
- Spend ample time outside.
- Play with “loose parts” from nature (sticks, rocks, etc.)
- Go for nature walks and hikes.
- Enjoy seasonal activities and traditions.
Slow and Steady Get Me Ready:
- Play by doing select activities from Slow and Steady Get Me Ready.
- Listen to lullabies sung and on CD at quiet times, bedtime and in the car.
- Play with three “learning toys” a week during sibling’s indoor lesson times – or as interest holds. Most of these will be Montessori-inspired materials placed out in rotation in an effort to keep the house tidy while allowing for choice and exploration.
- Develop appreciation through listening to a variety of types of music on CD and by going to free concerts.
- Explore through playing with rhythm instruments.
- Dance freely, sometimes with props, to a variety of music.
- Listen to and sing classic/traditional children’s songs.
Art and Sensory Experiences:
- Play with sensory bin with rotating materials.
- Explore different age-appropriate art media and techniques.
- Browse books that contain examples of great classic art.
- Browse picture books with beautiful illustrations.
- Share in Charlotte-Mason inspired Picture Study time with siblings.
- Play simple games with picture cards that contain reproductions of great art.
- Go to museums and galleries, if possible.
- Enjoy creative dramatics and dramatic play.
- Attend live performances.
- Make and use puppets, including hand, sock, paper plate, paper bag and finger puppets.
Exercise/ Baby Games/Massage/Habits:
- Play formal and informal games inside and out.
- Participate in creative movement (with music) times.
- Begin massage times again.
- Work on Megaskills, reviewed here.
- Do some activities and share some experiences from Beautiful Beginnings.
- Browse and read books about culture, geography and the world.
- Explore local area.
- Learn about community helpers and locations.
*Math concepts will be naturally included in other activities, particularly in Montessori-inspired ones and reading selections.
Whew! Seems like a lot doesn’t it?
Well, the fuller the well of ideas, the easier it may be to dip into as Jack thirsts for more learning and fun.
That said, let me be the first to say that I’m fully aware that reality of what we do with Jack in the coming academic year might turn out quite differently than what I have outlined here. Life– and Jack’s reactions to it and explorations of it – might lead us in unforeseen directions. My hope is, though, that much like what happened with our Summer Bucket List, where I found that just by writing things down, we seemed to write them in our hearts and heads and, thus, ended up accomplishing a lot of the list without even referring to it, that what I have come up with here– in my Teacher/Planner mode – transforms effortlessly into daily reality this fall. (How is that for a run-on sentence from a former ELA teacher?) If nothing else, by writing this Infant-Toddler Curriculum out, I believe that I have become more aware of what we might do to “follow Jack” as we also reach towards our mission and goals this fall. I also recognize that, if we stick to even a part of what I have written, I will more easily be able to plan, prepare, assess and reflect upon developmentally-appropriate activities for Jack at a moment's notice. Plus, by sharing all this, I may just hold myself more accountable to making my last first sometimes, and I may also help you to think about how you’d like to guide your own young explorers this fall.
From here on out, then, the plan for the Infant-Toddler Curriculum is: be, do, reflect and tweak… observe and tweak…live, learn and love together.
What are your “curriculum”/enrichment plans for your youngest children? I’d love for you to share them in a comment or with a link! And, of course, if you notice a glaring hole in what I have laid out here, please let me know.
Two weeks late, I am sharing this post at Heart of the Matter's Curriculum Week Blog Hop, a place where you can find links to oh-so-may curriculum ideas.