If you are looking for preschool curriculum ideas, there are a lot of choices available.
Preschool is a great time to try teaching your children at home. There are so many ways to create a learning-rich environment that will help your child to thrive!
In fact, there are many advantages to fostering the learning process in your own home. At three to five years of age, most children are open to learning and exploring. They will ask questions and seek interactions with their family and anyone around them. The things you do with preschool-age children have a major impact on their developing personality and thought processes.
At three or four years old, children are becoming independent. In addition to attending a good preschool program, engaging them in activities that help develop basic life skills and knowledge will do them that much more good. These are a few activities parents can do with their preschoolers.
- Read to children on a regular basis. The more you expose them to reading and books, the more they will understand the importance of doing so and the value of great reading.
- Allow your child to be social. Playing with other kids is fun and enables them to learn sharing, friendship, and other valuable lessons.
- No more baby talk. Converse using complete sentences and words and phrases adults regularly use. This will help build their language skills.
- Given them choices. Start simple but give your child choices of snacks, clothing, and playtimes. It will help build cognitive, decision making, and organizational skills.
- Discipline with clarity and consistency. If your child’s behavior is not what you desire, explain why and what you expect them to do. It is at this stage they start to understand the value of “no”, so be a conveyor of this knowledge.
Your child should have the motor skills to dress themselves by age three. They should be able to ride a tricycle too. By age four, they should be able to cut paper figures, draw stick figures and know a few colors; even understand a few jokes. Fiver year olds should have counting skills. Drawing people, pretend play and the ability to ride a two-wheel bike using training wheels should also be in their repertoire.
There are plenty of opportunities when homeschooling a pre-kindergarten age child. Whether you choose pre-k activities online, try unit studies or choose a homeschool materials from some of the recommended publishers below, there are excellent resources available to you.
Unit studies include lessons within themes. These help children retain information and associate it. The content can be tailored to different ages, learning styles, and challenges. Homeschooling materials will be discussed later, but here are a few ideas that will help you bolster your child’s development at this critical stage.
Exposure to the World:
Life experience is the best teacher for children at this age. The more that you expose them to the more they learn and know. Taking them to the symphony, the zoo, museums and on nature hikes will help them learn about the world around them. Getting your child involved in activities in the community, church and or ‘mommy and me’ classes is a great way to exposure them to different people and experiences.
Preschoolers are visual learners. They take in stimuli as vivid images. Notice how many children’s blocks and popular cartoon characters are so colorful? Try visual activities such as going to the local carousel or a sculpture garden.
Young children also crave touch. Many museums offer hands on programs for kids. Check with a local petting zoo and see if they let children feed the animals. Animal encounters are often an unforgettable and exciting experience.
Even at age four, children love nature. A small home garden will show them how the plants and flowers around them came to be. Plus, it’s fascinating to watch a plant grow. All you need is a small pot and some soil. Even plant seeds for vegetable plants and pretty soon you and your child will be eating the food you watched grow.
Top Preschooling Program Choices
If you want a more structured program (or in a lot of cases younger children want ‘school work’ like their older siblings!), then look for one that has lots of activities and does not require just sitting and passively learning.
Here are some of our top preschool curriculum ideas:
Horizons is a Christian preschooling program using a colorful workbook style program that involves tons of hands on projects and multimedia activities.
Before Five in a Row is a great unit study approach to learning that fosters a love of reading.
Rod and Staff is a series of workbooks that teaching both math and reading. It also contains basic cut and paste activities.
Sonlight uses classic stories as a basis for learning.
HighScope is based on a process it calls “active participatory learning”. It helps with language and cognitive learning, cooperation, creativity, problem solving and other skills that help preschoolers succeed as adults.
Farm to Preschool focuses on sensory learning with a concentration on teaching healthy eating habits. It offers a variety of curricula across the country.
Boston Children’s Museum’s STEM Sprouts Teaching Kit concentrates on science, technology, engineering and math at a preschooler’s level of brain development.
Gayle’s Preschool Rainbow details activities for parents and young children such as arts and crafts, recipes, reading, outdoor fun and more.
Suggested Read Aloud Books
Reading aloud to preschoolers is an essential to their academic and social development.
Some recommended books for preschooler are:
• Good Night Moon
• Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel
• Peter Rabbit
• House at Pooh Corner
• Velveteen Rabbit
• The Very Hungry Caterpillar
• Caps for Sale
• Make Way for Ducklings
• Owl Moon
• Harry the Dirty Dog
• Where the Wild Things Are.
• The Little Engine That Could.
• Fairy tales and folk tales including: “Cinderella,” “The Gingerbread Man,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” “The Three Little Pigs,” “The Three Billy Goats Gruff,” “Goldilocks and the Three Bears
• Mother Goose nursery rhymes.
Preschoolers who have books read aloud to them regularly develop a love of reading and tend to learn to read easier than those who are not read to. You can also ask your local librarian for more recommendations.
Reading aloud to children does more than foster positive associations with reading books. It has an important role in language development. Children learn the meaning of more words, extending their vocabulary.
They also learn the relationship between sounds and printed words. Exposure to different writing styles and written language, versus typical conversation, helps build important linguistic skills as well.
Tips on Reading to Your Children
- Sit them in a comfortable, safe, and secure place when reading.
- Make a schedule for reading, such as at the beginning or end of the day and at regular times in between.
- Engage them. Explain new words, information, and how pictures relate to the story. Add some background information or make observations on characters’ actions. Also make comparative questions or those that connect the story with the child’s life.
- Discuss the story with your children and encourage them to comment about it, tell the story in their own words or explain what they like.
Read various kinds of books. Some can relate to their own background, but also pick books that represent other cultures and times. Reread their favorites too. This is fun for children but also helps recognize patterns and new words, perhaps noticing things they didn’t the first time around.
Some homeschool parents organize homeschool co-ops to get a group of preschoolers together to take trips, play, make crafts and learn together a few times a week. This is especially nice to children who do not have a chance to play with children their own age often.
Find local support groups for homeschooling parents. They can point you in the right direction and give preschoolers a chance to interact. Some organize group trips to local events and activities.
These support groups can be found by word of mouth or in local publications. You can also find many online resources for finding homeschooling groups and co-ops. Some even show you how to start one of your own.
Round out their learning with some online fun! There are many sources for preschool curriculum ideas online. Some of our favorites are these two:
Time4Learning — This online program includes educational games and learning in one.
JumpStart Learning —Learning games and adventures from this child favorite!
It’s important to boost your preschooler’s development at home. Expose them to the world, read to them, find fun learning programs and find local co-ops. There are also many fun online activities. Don’t limit your child’s potential at this stage. Give them a rich and diverse learning experience.