I am knee deep in activity restructuring and planning for the fall season of sprout school. We have joined a "Tot School" co-op and I want to be sure that I align our weekly group class initiatives with the other work I am doing at home. I am excited for the adventure and to be connected with local moms on the same track.
While the tot school is providing a "curriculum" of suggested play based learning activities, I am super committed to not leaving behind my Montessori, art and ASL initiatives. I'm excited to learn that some of the other tot schoolers are striving for a montessori approach as well. I was right to have confidence in the co-op moms putting the guide together the first 4 weeks are out and they are good fun activities. Many that we have done or do regularly and sourced from some of our favorite blogs! Hooray!! :)
My first surprise is that I think my approach may differ more than I initially anticipated to the most of the moms in the co-op. Ultimately, I don't think the differences will make a huge impact on our experience. But it's exciting to me to be exposed to so many different approaches. I think the diversity will only make the group stronger.
One of the areas that I have noticed the most diversity is how each family approaches planning and prep time. Here is how I manage both ...
Planning Time Vs. Prepping Time
When I say knee deep in planning time. It's on paper and on the computer. I am using my planner printable to pop the concepts and ideas we are going to be working on into a structured plan. I am reviewing my Signing Time, Montessori at Home, Young at Art and favorite blogs and other resources. I am making a list of all the things we will need. It is one of the only times I believe I truly plan without input from my little ones.
I consider prep time a big part of learning time. For that reason, I include my littles in almost all layers of prep time for activities. For example, once I have the list of supplies we need we grab our magnifying glass and go on a scavenger hunt for the supplies we need. If my little ones aren't into helping I don't force the issue. But thus far ... they almost never, barring illness, aren't into helping. If we need "play doh" for an activity they help me make it. Prep time is full of practical skill and confidence building opportunity. Yes, it can be a bit messy. But I have found that it also helps to build excitement about the activity.
I don't think or I should say I hope there isn't a right or wrong method. Just a right method for each family and learning style :) What is your method for prepping learning activities for or with your little?