Friday, February 11, 2011

Tot School

~CB is currently 13.5 months old~

TotSchool

 

Well, we’re back up and running. I am so excited!! CB has graduated from Tiny Tot School and has now moved on into big girl Tot School!! Wahoo! In case you are just catching Tot School for the very first time and are wondering what that is, let me explain. It’s really just purposeful play with my girl. I select specific activities that are fun and good for learning, and spend about 30 minutes a day just sitting on the floor playing and learning with those specific toys. It’s amazing to watch her learn!!

I spent some time creating a corner for her in our living room with activities specifically for Tot School. It’s been wonderful! I got this 9 square bookshelf on sale at Target. It was already painted pink which was a winner in my book since we are officially going to have 2 GIRLS in our home!! There are only 4 squares open to Miss CB during Tot School time. Her 3 Tot School activities for the week are on the bottom and books are on the top. Since my girl is s sucker for books I HAD to have those out and ready for all parts of the day!! Inside the 5 boxes are other toys and activities stored away for future Tot School weeks. During regular play time she typically only goes in one of those boxes. The pink box in the middle on the left contains all her little cell phones and you know how my child LOVES to talk on the phone!! HA! :)

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We officially started up again last week. The activities you see in the bottom squares above are the ones she played with last week. From left to right you will see puzzles, Leap Frog Caterpillar, and foam books with 3 square stackers. She didn’t care much for the square on the right, but the puzzles were the biggest hit of all! So big, that I kept them out this week too! (I change out Tot School activities weekly). Something that I REALLY like is keeping the puzzle pieces in a bowl, separate from the puzzle. This encourages her to take the pieces out of the bowl one at a time and place each piece in it’s place. Then, she takes them back out of the puzzle one at a time and puts them into the bowl. It adds one extra step for learning and helps with clean up!!

Daddy was home last Monday when we started so he spent some time with her during Tot School. She LOVED that! Here they are working on her puzzles…

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Moving on to square # 2… the Leap Frog Caterpillar. This learning toy is great because it tells you the letters of the alphabet, the sounds each letter makes, colors, and sings a few fun songs. It also has a string attached to its neck and CB LOVES to pull him around. Here she is multitasking with a book and the caterpillar! :)

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She really didn’t play with anything in square # 3. I tried to get it out and show her how to stack and how the number stackers actually went with one of her books, but she wasn’t having it. Looks like this activity will be put away for some time before we get it out again!! One of the biggest things about Tot School is having FUN! So, if an activity you chose doesn’t seem fun to your tot, put it away and try again later! :)

This week has been exciting as well. Like I said, I kept the puzzles out because they were such a big hit, but added two new activities to the mix. A fruit and veggie tray made of stuffed fruits and veggies, and some tot sized pots and pans. She LOVES them both!! It’s been so fun playing with them this week!!

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She held that star the ENTIRE time we did Tot School the other day. She refused to put it in the puzzle or back in the bowl. It was hilarious! I guess my girl likes purple stars!! HA!

 

This was my favorite Tot School day this week (hence ALL the pictures!!) We cooked up some fruits and veggies in our pots and pans! CB was so engaged in what she was doing as she put each fruit and veggie into its own pot or pan. I was truly amazed watching her do this and praised her along the way. Such imaginative play! :)

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She also had a grand ole’ time banging pot tops on the table. It sure was a sight to see!! The picture on the left is definitely a FAVORITE of mine!!

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To wrap up the week, CB also likes to play in her random toy bin during Tot School time. It has various toys in it from when she was a baby and she still likes to sort though this bin, take all the toys out, and put them all back in.

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I really am having fun planning activities for CB and spending one on one time with her playing with purpose each day. It reminds me a lot of planning for school when I was in the classroom. It also prompts me to think about the possible decision of homeschooling one day. I NEVER thought I would homeschool my kids. I actually didn’t really agree with parents homeschooling until I had a child of my own. That sure puts it all into perspective. David and I definitely haven’t decided one way or the other, but we are praying that God will show us his plan and lead us in the way he would have us go. I do love teaching my own child. I love the time I get to spend with her and I love being able to shape her character throughout the day. It truly is amazing. But, we will see where God leads us. Until next time…

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh, I just love her! Thanks for an awesome play date today. xoxo, Em

Matt and Christen said...

You are so creative. Where do you come up with your ideas for Tot School? When did you start Tiny Tot school? I love reading about the activities you do. It gives me ideas. Thanks for all the effort you do in sharing!!

Dani said...

Christen ... Many of my ideas come from a blog I read - http://1plus1plus1equals1.blogspot.com/. She does Tot School and she also homeschools all her kiddos. That's actually where I got the idea for Tot School! :) It's a fabulous resource! You are probably doing "Tiny Tot School" with Derek right now and don't even realize it! It's just purposeful play with him. I think I started blogging about Tiny Tot School with Cori around 8 months. You can go to my first post about it here - http://danianddavesmith.blogspot.com/2010/08/tiny-tot-school.html. I'm learning as I go, but enjoy it so much!! :)

Ginger said...

I was a preschool teacher before I had children now I stay home with my children. I know what you mean about changing your thoughts on home schooling. My husband and I feel a lot differently now than we would have prior to kids. We will see what God's plans are... Your little girl is a doll.

Amanda said...

Hey Danielle! It's Amanda K. Cori is absolutely adorable! And I can't wait to meet Baby Finley. Just stopped by to wish you a Happy Anniversary! Can't believe it's been 5 years! I am homeschooling my K, PreK-3, and 2 year old, and absolutely LOVE it! I do the 1+1+1=1 tot trays with my youngest, and he loves them! We also use http://confessionsofahomeschooler.blogspot.com/ in addition to our core curriculum. She has a ton of great activities for preschoolers.
Also check out "The Well Trained Mind" by Susan Wise Bauer if you're seriously considering homeschooling. I have a copy if you wanna borrow it when you're in town. :) Take care, friend! Hope to see you soon! Hugs