Tot School - For Real This Time

Last week we started our first week back at Tot School, unfortunately I didn't get any pictures because it was over before I knew it and just didn't think about it. But the main change to our Tot School plan from the last one is Tot Trays. I've known about these for a long time now and have resisted as long as I can, I didn't want to invest in the trays, set up the space and collect the items for her to use on the trays. But anything worth doing takes work. Once I was finally on board with the trays everything started to fall into place. I had a space in the house to set them up and already had some items for her to start her first week. I still resisted purchasing the adorable craft trays online, I just can't spend $17+ (including shipping) on 6 plastic trays, so the first week I set up the Montessori like activities on the plastic lids that came with the storage boxes I use for Sissy's Quiet Time boxes. I just wanted to get started right away and didn't worry about details. It worked out great; her favorite activity was transferring pom poms around an egg tray with tongs, even though she isn't using her pointer finger and thumb yet. Once I knew this set up was what she needed I headed to the Dollar Store and purchased the little metal cookie sheets with a lip, they are the exact size we needed.

The first week went great, I wasn't strict about when we did Tot School, I just made sure that I made time for it everyday. Hopefully someday in the future things can be even more structured but at least we are doing something now. I'm finding afternoons work better for us.

I made a lesson plan for each week to get us through August 30. Then we'll take a week long break and then dive into pre-preschool as I like to call it, pretty much still Tot School. For the weekly theme I found this summer learning program over at 3 Dinosaurs. It was something simple that I could use to have some sort of plan for the week. I only print off three of the five days worth of paperwork, Sissy still isn't that keen on paperwork. But I give it to her to try anyways and she does but moves quickly through it. She's more interested in the Tot Trays right now.

The theme this week was Space. I keep the theme very loose, it's pretty much just the printables and the books I get from the library. As time goes on I would like to have more themed items and a craft to go along with the theme but we're just starting out and I'm not going to let that stop us. (I'm working on if it isn't perfect I will still do it) The books I chose for last week were, Roaring Rockets  and There's No Place Like Space!. I had another one requested but it never came and I can't remember what it was now. I just use these to sit on the floor with Sissy and Baby Guy and have story time. They love that. Along with that I set up 6 Tot Trays with different activities on them. I try to use at least 3 of the recommended learning skills and then the other three can be puzzles, the themed printable notebook or whatever fun activity we have. I keep the same trays out all week right now, she usually likes one activity the most and wants to do it every day, so I let her and then encourage her to try another one daily. If she likes it great, if not oh well.

This weeks three skills that I picked were pouring, transferring and beading. For pouring I took a plastic pitcher that we had, put some dry beans in it from our bean box and set an empty cup next to the pitcher. She loved pouring the beans out and them putting them back in the small hole. The pom pom activity mentioned earlier was for transferring, she still needs alot of practice with the tongs. I'm on the hunt for some large plastic tweezers. And for the beading she used the newly purchased Melissa and Doug Primary Lacing Beads that I found at Marshall's. She kind of likes the set but isn't too fond of beading, another skill that will take time, but they are fun for stacking.

On top of all of that which seems like a lot but really isn't when you are doing it, we are doing Bible time and activity. I try and do this at least three days a week to hope it sinks in more. This week we started with Creation day 1, we read our little Beginners Bible and we sing the verse:

In the beginning (2x)
God created (2x)
The heavens and earth (2x)
Genesis 1:1 (2x)

to the tune of "Are you sleeping?", this is from the curriculum from ABC Jesus Loves Me. Then we do a little craft or activity. The craft for last week was day and night. We took a black piece of construction paper and a white piece. We cut the white paper to make it look like a blast of light and then pasted it on top of the black paper. Very simple and just thrown together but it worked. For the next two days of bible we just go over the story, verse and craft again to reinforce the lesson. I was also lucky enough to find a copy of Songs for Saplings: 123 from the library, I couldn't believe they had this and then felt even more blessed to find it had a song for every day of creation. So we listen to those at some point in the day as well.

So I know that is a super long post and taking pictures should help shorten what I have to say because you will just be able to see what's going on. Sissy definitely feels special during her Tot School time and I feel like I'm being an intentional parent. Win-Win!

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