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Old 01-13-2014, 02:47 PM
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Christina72684 Christina72684 is offline
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Question Preschool Questions

How much time do you spend doing structured preschool work versus letting them free play?

Do you do it all in the morning or after nap as well?

Do you teach the alphabet in ABC order or a different order? (I've seen many ways and most make sense, I just don't know what's best)

Do you do themes and if so do they last a week, month, etc?

Do you do centers where they rotate and are at for a certain amount of time, or do you leave the centers out at all times and let them choose if/when they want to do them?

Any other preschool advice would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 01-13-2014, 03:42 PM
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jenboo jenboo is offline
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We do about 15 minutes in the morning and after nap of preschool activities. my DCK range from 14 months to 5 years. I do preschool activities with my older children and put out and activity (box with balls, ice cube tray with cotton balls) for the younger ones.

Our preschool activities range from puzzle pieces that match together (one piece has a two numbers and a plus or minus, the other side has an equal sign and a number). Today i had cut out pictures of cars in different colors and they glued them to paper and made patterns. We made a house out of card board boxes, we glued animals on paper based on their habitats. We write the alphabet. We practice rhyming words...etc. I try to do mostly child-led activities.

For the alphabet, we start by singing it. Then i have cards that have a letter on one side and an animal on the other. We will go through them in random order. They are really sturdy so I hand them off to the younger kids when we are done to keep them entertained. We also play alphabet bingo.

We do a monthly theme. This month is our neighborhood. I pick them based on the kids' interests. I also pick out learning goals to focus on for that month. So far we have learned about maps, we made a house out of a box and made patterns with cars. The themes basically give me ways of doing the same activities but change it up. For example, using cars for making patterns instead of just color squares.

Our center time is our free play time. The room is set up with centers (language, pretend, block, math/science and a section geared towards babies). They can play anywhere, i do not make them rotate on a schedule.

I do not do work sheets, tracing etc. I have a mix of different philosophies and do a variety of activities that range from Reggio, Montessori, etc. I pick activities based on the children's interests and i try to do as many child-led activities as possible. I don't really have to do any curriculum prep or planning. Its great! Also, the children are fully prepared for kindergarten, if not advanced.

Sorry for the novel.
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Old 01-13-2014, 08:31 PM
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Angelsj Angelsj is offline
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I have a board up each week that says "What are we talking about this week?" On it will be a letter (Mm), a number (15), a color (green) and a shape (cone.)
Each of those things is represented with the appropriate word in both English and Spanish, as well a a pictorial representation. We also have a Bible verse that starts with our letter and a few pictures of things that start with it.

The board also has a weather of the day and a seasons picture on it.

However, all of that is just a jumping off place. Throughout the day, we talk about all those things. We may count out 15 pretzels at snacktime, or jump 15 squares on the floor. We may look around the play area and come up with as many green things as we can. I do coloring pages and worksheets, but not a lot. We will do crafts in the theme if we can (we might make a paper plate monkey this week.) We also do active things. Today, I just wanted them to stop being loud while the 2nd youngest was still napping, so we played "act out your favorite M animal" LOL
We talk about it outside, and in the afternoon. If a kid shows me something that starts with m, I will point it out. All of this is done in about 30 mins per day, scattered out. Most of their day is free play.
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Old 01-14-2014, 11:35 AM
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kendallina kendallina is offline
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I run a preschool from my home, just morning preschool from 9am-noon. I do have a few kids that stay all day because their parents work, but my primary business is the preschool. I have to say, we do a morning meeting, circle time (music), storytime for about 15 minutes each. I also do a small group, which I suppose is what people mostly consider the 'preschool' time, it's where I have chosen an activity based on our theme (usually about 15-30 minutes, depending on how into it they are). Often it's art (open-ended, I don't really do crafts) or we make books or play something messy. So, that's about an hour total of the three-hour class. But if I ran a full-time childcare on top of preschool, I would probably cut out the morning meeting and just do circle time, story time and small group in addition to free play.

The rest of the time they are here is mostly free play in the room and outside time. Free play is probably the most important time of a good preschool, it's where they learn to be independent, to get along with other children, to problem solve, etc. I am always available during this time, sometimes interacting with them, other times just 'around' to help them solve problems, etc.

A few things that I do to encourage those academic skills:

we do a lot of counting (we count kids, crackers for snack, things we see in books, etc)

they are asked to write their name on their picture everytime they draw a pic (sometimes they just write their first letter, other times I sit down with them and they go through the whole thing letter by letter). I don't make them do it, I just say, make sure you put your name on it so that we know who made it...

Also, if they make a pic for mom, I ask them to write "MOM" on it. it's a pretty easy one and they love feeling success with it

We learn the first letter of our name and our friend's names first. We do a lot of games and activities with our names (we have namecards and we hide them around the room, sometimes I put their namecards on a certain chair for them to find and sit on, sometimes I just hold them up and ask them if they know who it is) They learn to recognize their names and their friend's names very quickly. I get really bored if we just have a letter of the week and I often forget if I do it that way. I find that introducing letters that are important to them gets them really excited and then just start seeking out the other letters of the alphabet.

Sometimes I have all 4-5 yr olds in a class and we do more then, but still everything that we do is through play and they leave here knowing their letters, letter sounds, counting to 20 + etc.

Of course, keep in mind, I have all 3-5 year olds. This would be more difficult if you have many young ones. I have done this kind of routine with young 2-year olds too and they just join at their own level.

I don't know if any of that helps, but there you go! Good luck and have fun with it, I love doing activities with preschoolers and seeing their excitement as they learn new things.

One last thing, I find that a large part of my job is also informing the parents of what we're up to. So, they always know our theme and I write up a list of activities by the door each day. I also have a private facebook page that I post pics on every few weeks. I think that informing parents of what you're doing to encourage learning (even social learning) is especially important for daycare providers because otherwise parents won't think you're doing anything and they may pull them out when they reach preschool age (and some will anyways, but there's not much you can do about that).
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Old 01-14-2014, 11:47 AM
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Annalee Annalee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christina72684 View Post
How much time do you spend doing structured preschool work versus letting them free play?

Do you do it all in the morning or after nap as well?

Do you teach the alphabet in ABC order or a different order? (I've seen many ways and most make sense, I just don't know what's best)

Do you do themes and if so do they last a week, month, etc?

Do you do centers where they rotate and are at for a certain amount of time, or do you leave the centers out at all times and let them choose if/when they want to do them?

Any other preschool advice would be greatly appreciated!
We do group time for about 10/15/20 minutes a couple times a day but the dc room is set up with play centers each month based on four themes. Preschool takes place throughout the day through free play/choices. Children are exposed to ABC's/print, numbers/counting, literacy, seasons, calendar, etc. in many areas of the room. Children are allowed to choose their learning experience but they have to clean up their materials before going to another area. Children are read to in large and small groups or individually...smaller children are in and out as much of this takes place, but they are still learning.
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