Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Little One Learns

As a former kindergarten teacher I'm easily excited by little ones learning :)  Even more exciting than watching them learn is watching them LOVE learning.  Some children have personalities that are more or less geared to classroom learning though I believe all children are made to learn if given opportunities.

I'm so thankful to work and be with my daughter all day.  As a nanny I care for other little ones, but Moriah joins me and plays alongside her two best friends.  As Mr. S. has returned to pre-school this year and Ms. M.K. takes morning naps, I wanted to create a bit more of a structure for Moriah and I to learn together.  As a preface to this and all other posts, this works well for us, in this season - by NO means do I assume it should or would work for every child and family.  Please know my heart is to encourage moms who may relate, but NOT to discourage moms.

ready for "school" with mommy,
she gets excited and finds a spot!
My husband and I both love learning and especially reading.  We have thoughts and convictions about the ways we'd hope for our home and family to honor the Lord.  We have end goals in mind, even as parents of a new two year old.  Now, we don't know the future, but we do desire to live intentionally.  Our beliefs have created a home in which Moriah has "naturally" been exposed to lots of learning already, as most two year olds have.  I think most children will readily pick up on things taught to them throughout their days... talking to babies and children and explaining the world around them creates all sorts of enrichment that we don't often consider.

 a craft using cotton balls and shaving cream to explain
day 2 of creation -God made the sky and the water
I also tend towards routine and organization with a bit of perfectionism and procrastination mixed in.  It's not always a good combination, and one the Lord is changing in me through His gentle ways.  While we do lots of these "natural" learning things, I find that without the accountability of structure and written plans or ideas I tend to be lazy with my time.  My "laziness" may look different than yours, but I know that its not a nurturing and attentive attitude of my heart towards her.  I wanted to set goals and trust the Lord as I worked to start new patterns.  I heard about a pre-school curriculum called ABC Jesus Loves Me and decided to give it a try.  At the 2 year old stage, it's designed to be used three times a week reinforcing colors, numbers, counting, Bible memory, songs, rhymes, gross and fine motor skills, etc.  Very low key but deliberate "work" and lots of fun!  Moriah could already do some of the things taught throughout this curriculum, but a review is always good.  I'd much rather her really practice things than assume she knows them too soon and rush into something that's inappropriate for her age and development.  While it is free on-line, I chose to purchase the bound version to refer to more easily.  I also chose NOT to buy the worksheet set, and don't intend to use them.  While I don't think they're bad or totally wrong (mostly simple coloring pages), I didn't want our learning to be "pencil paper" yet.  I just needed the structure for my own mindset, though I don't think children need worksheets at this age (or for a few years really!).

I love sensory boxes - September apples and acorns -
working on transferring them with tongs,
a new fine motor skill
I wanted our learning to be active, and Bible centered.  I wanted Moriah to enjoy it!  I wanted it to seem age appropriate to my teacher mind.  I also wanted it to be very FLEXIBLE and adaptable.  My schedule is never the same week to week.  Some days we're at our apartment and some days at the home of the children I care for.  This program doesn't require much that we don't already have (mostly from my teaching background, children's book collection, and preference in toys).  I can easily find suggested books at the library if needed as well.

So we've enjoyed sprinkling "school" into our days over the past week and a half.  Moriah REALLY likes it and feels pretty grown up about it I think.  She's happy to do craft projects and is quick to memorize with the help of songs and rhymes.  It's a blessing to watch her.  Of course, we've still been going to our library story times, playing inside and outside, cleaning up and doing laundry, running errands, and enjoying the rest of life!  We've just added this bit of structure and love it so far.  I'd highly recommend it to anyone in a similar place :)

happy to play with Cubby Bear!

1 comment:

Sheryl Nelson said...

Thanks for sharing this, Laura! I cannot wait until I can do things like this with Nathan. It also gives me some good ideas for the future and where I can start with him. I love the sensory boxes! I would love to get some more ideas from you on some other boxes you have done and what ages you gave them to Moriah. I would love to do those with Nathan!