I was told by a former co-worker that her child was better off at preschool than at home because she could not do all of the activities that they do with him. (Insert my blank stare here.) The preschool employees are not doing anything that you cannot do yourself. YOU are your child’s best teacher. Don’t doubt your own abilities.
Even though Ava is only 15 months old, preschool has already begun. We do not do any form or formal teaching. Preschool is just that, the learning your child does “pre school”. We actually practice more of a Montessori style of learning at our house.
Eventually I plan to set up a more formal Montessori playroom, but for now we just try to incorporate learning into our everyday routine. Our current living space is fairly limited.
So what do we do to encourage learning? Here are a few activities we regularly do.
- Allow your child to cook and clean with you. Ava loves to help cook. I let her get right in the action. (I want her to have a kitchen helper stool like this one. I will probably build her one this summer.) She helps stir and add ingredients. This is a great way to introduce your child to the kitchen. She knows that the stove is hot and that knives are sharp. I also allow her to feel the different textures of food as well as taste new things. As a result, she has a very broad palate. This girl loves everything! She also loves to “help” me do the dishes. These activities may result in a little extra clean up, but it’s so worth it.
- Use everyday objects in play. Ava has a whole collection of random containers, jugs, an old cell phone, and a wallet among other things. We don’t buy a lot of commercial toys, we just don’t need to. An old oatmeal container becomes a drum. A small shopping bag is perfect for sorting blocks.
- Play! Yes, play. You may think that your life is too busy or that free play is not important; make time for it. Free play encourages your child to use his or her imagination. Children who engage in more imaginative play have more self-control and a longer attention span when they get older.
See the blocks in the picture above? They are actually gram weights that I picked up for $.50 at The Salvation Army. Right now Ava loves to stack them and sort them by colors. She also loves to put them all in their bag and then dump them out. When she gets older, we can use them for counting, building patterns, and as actual weights. There are 1, 5, 10, and 20 gram weights. And if you were wondering, they hurt just as bad as legos when you step on them. =)
Do you “preschool” at home? Do you have any advice?