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 craft: Paint sponge A stampingSnack: Animal crackers and apple slices
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.