While you probably have the option to send your little one to preschool outside of your home, some kids simply function better when closer to the nest. Whether it's your child's temperament or a tight budget, just because you don't send your child to preschool doesn't mean he can't have an educational and enriching preschool experience with just the two of you. Set up your own home for preschool learning and your child can learn and grow from the comfort of your own home.
Establish a designated place in your home where you'll hold preschool. Whether it's a small corner or an entire room, it's important to delineate between regular play and learning areas. Keep some toys and gear aside just for preschool, so your little one is always excited to get started and begin using the stuff you've kept for learning purposes specifically.
Set up separate stations for different types of preschool play and learning. In her book, "Mommy, Teach Me!: Preparing Your Preschool Child for a Lifetime of Learning," Barbara Curtis suggests focusing on subjects like manipulatives, imaginative play, arts and crafts, science and basic learning, like letters, colors and numbers. These are the things your little one would learn about in an out-of-home preschool and they all contribute to a well-rounded at-home experience.
Utilize items from around your home to stock your preschool. You don't need to spend excess money on manipulative gear, blocks or musical instruments when a bowl of rice and measuring cups, building blocks and pots and pans work just as well. Look around your home to see what you can use in your preschool to keep your child engaged and learning.
Personalize your child's preschool experience -- it's one of the major benefits to having preschool in your home. You can use items that he loves, favorite cartoon characters and favorite toys to invite him to come learn. If he's totally into cars, a printed poster of cars in different colors might encourage him to learn the difference between red and blue or coloring pages with his favorite movie character can be a catalyst for arts and crafts.
Create a schedule based on your child's individual needs and your own daily schedule. Consistency and predictability help you and your child make at-home preschool a habit. A typical preschool would last anywhere from two to three hours, so take that into consideration when planning your own preschool. Structured play, unstructured play, a learning activity and a snack can help round out your at-home preschool schedule. Post your schedule on the wall so both you and your child can follow along.
Items you will need
- School supplies
- Mommy, Teach Me!: Preparing Your Preschool Child for a Lifetime of Learning; Barbara Curtis
- Stony Brook Child Care Services: Getting the Most Out of Preschool at Home
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