Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Hazel's not the only one going to preschool this year. Although Ginger is too young to attend Carlin Hall, we have hooked up with a few other moms and 2-year-olds for a mini version. Once a week we run a 2-hour program at one of our homes, rotating who hosts/teaches. The four of us got together in July to hammer out the curriculum and schedule. Each week we have a letter and a theme. The stories, crafts, snack and activities for that day relate to the letter, theme or both. And we have a bin with the weather and alphabet charts, art supplies and smocks, that we pass around.

Last week was our first week, and it was at my house. I'd spent a few weeks preparing, gathering books and items needed, but the night before still saw me driving to two different stores for streamers and sponges. So much for preparation.

Summary of the Day

Letter: A
Letter craft: Paint sponge A stampingSnack: Animal crackers and apple slices
Theme: Weather
Theme craft: Windsocks (and letting them blow by the fan)Stories: Rain by Robert Kalan, The Wind Blew by Pat Hutchins, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Cutest Thing: Ginger called me "Teacher" instead of Mommy all morning

It was neither the hardest nor the easiest thing I've ever done. There are only four kids and they're well-behaved. But they're also two and need a lot of help with everything. Like cleaning up their paint-covered hands. Or using the potty, since they are in various stages of training. And while the one grown-up is helping each kid, the others are on their own, and that aspect is tricky. Once you lose them, you have to round them back up and re-focus the group. But it's not impossible. I've been in worse predicaments.

Once or twice a month we will do field trips the day after, that go along with the theme, like going to Frying Pan Farm after farm day, or apple picking after apple day in October. Pretty straightforward stuff; this is not cutting edge education. What we are doing is a little structure and socialization, maybe some prereading as well for the kids. But mostly us Moms are getting a few hours to ourselves a few times a month.

And THAT is genius.


Scott and Jen Driggs said...

My sister and I are doing the same thing with our 2 year olds. Love the challenge and special time with the kids...and LOVE the few hours a week to be "kid free"!

Lindsay said...

I wanted to set up something similar -- in fact, I still want to -- here in Brooklyn. I can't afford to send Garrett to preschool, but I'd like him to have a similar opportunity. Maybe someday, after you've been doing this for a while, you'll have to do a post about the pros and cons, the things that are hard and easy about it, etc.

tona said...

Did anyone cry at being dropped off or have separation anxiety? It looks like everyone was so occupied but I know that's because otherwise you'd be too busy to take a picture!

Emily said...

This is awesome! My siblings and I all did Joy School when we were little. I think it started at 3, but I could be wrong. It was a co-op like this but I think there was a set curriculum you could buy. Such a good idea! Way to go!

Disco Mom said...

Yeah, this is not Joy School but along the same lines. Juli, one of the moms, said when she is asked if Charlotte is in preschool, she answers, "Yes, a very exclusive private school - we were so lucky to get in!"

Ton - no one cried except Lizzie who had gotten back the night before from a 3 week trip and was exhausted. Lizzie's older brother Bradley is in preschool with Hazel, and her mom and I switch babysitting when we "cooperate" at their school, so I wasn't worried about her crying - she is used to being with me. Frankly, so are the others because I was their nursery teacher for a year at church. Being in nursery helped me figure out who would be...a good fit to do this arrangement with. We didn't really pick the cryers.

Disco Mom said...

And yes, it was almost impossible to grab my camera for the few shots I got - not my best work but I was scrambling!

Heather M. said...

We used to do that, with both of my kids. I loved it, even though it did require creativity and eyes in the back of your head, and an extra set of hands. It was a good thing for that in between before preschool. Glad to hear you are trying it out!

Ashley McNair said...

Jack loved it! On the way home, he was making a rainstorm by patting his legs. Great job!

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