For beginners, I love teaching! So doing tot school for me is not a burden or frustration, it is fun. I enjoy looking for activies for my son and I to try and putting together a "curriculum" of sorts for us to do. My son is thirteen months old as I write this, and he enjoys most of our school.
We are learning colors, shapes, and farm animals right now. Because he is so young, he can't say the colors, shapes,and animals, but we are learning the sign language for them. He is also trying to imitate the sounds of the animals we read about,this is probably his favorite part. I know that at this point, many may wonder why we do tot school, because he truly is not of an age to say anything.
I do tot school because although he may not be able to talk, he does understand, recognize, and can learn signs. Exposing children from birth to sign language allows them to communicate at an early age what they need, which really helps eliminate fits and whining because you are giving them a mean of communicating their needs with you. Baby sign has also been known to produce children with a better vocabulary and language rich environment which will put them ahead of their peers as they grow older.
So enough of why, here is what our tot school looks like.Our tot school lasts about an hour, sometimes more, sometimes less. The first thing we do is color. Most of the time I print off pictures from the internet, but today we just colored in a notebook. We are working our way through this tot farm tot book , which is featured in the image below. I really love this website and plan on doing all her tot books! As baby A colors, we go over the names of the colors, and that colors are for paper not to eat. :)
The next step in our tot school is story time. Baby A and I read a lot of fun picture books throughout the day, but the story time in our tot school is reserved for teaching him how to sit still. Right now, I am reading through the Keepers of the Faith series. We are on the book My Mates and I, by O.F Walton. These are amazing books for teaching character, but they also don't have pictures.
For this part, I have him sit in front of me while I read to him. Our goal this week is to sit still and quiet for fifteen minutes. I know for some that is a long time, but we have been doing this since he was nine months old. We are gradually working on expanding his attention span so every week, I add a minute or two. As I read I set the stopwatch on my phone, so I know exactly how long we have been reading. I also do this because when baby A is not being quiet, I stop the timer until he is sitting quietly.
My rules for story time are that he must be quiet and sitting on his bottom. In the beginning, this was the worst part of our tot school, but I can honestly say that if you keep working at it, your child will learn. My son was an active baby, crawling everywhere, so having him sit still for two minutes was a nightmare. The very first time we did this, I did not worry about him being quiet, just sitting still and that was hard enough. He would just scream because he had to remain sitting down, slowly it got better. Around a year old, I introduced the concept of sitting still and being quiet. I say that just so you know that this is a process and doesn't happen overnight. It is totally worth the effort though to teach them self control now then later.
The next thing we do is learn our shapes. I printed out two sets of these shape cards. I tell him the shapes, and then we try to match up the same ones. By this I mean, that I lay out the first set, and attempt to get him to match them. He doesn't at this point match them himself, but he loves trying.
The last thing we do in our tot school is sing songs. I like to sing lots of funny action songs that teach him his body parts, colors, or a Bible story. Some of the ones we sing are: "Oh,be careful little eyes what you see", "The wheels on the Bus", "Peter and John went to Pray", "If you're happy and you know it", and the "Crayon box"
Later on after his afternoon nap, we play outside, and do a sensory or fine motor activity, which are always super fun. This pretty much wraps up most of our day until my husband comes home. What are some of the things you do in your tot school?