Preschool should be a time of learning through everyday life experiences. And though you might be tempted to go out and buy a wonderful new preschool curriculum, you will be amazed at how much your child can learn without formal instruction.
As the owner of a homeschool community, I'm often asked about recommendations for preschool curriculum. Parents are usually eager and excited to start the homeschool journey with their preschoolers and search for the best, most comprehensive curriculum. Many parents are surprised when I tell them that their preschoolers do not necessarily need boxed curriculum.
Allow your preschooler plenty of time to play games, build, climb, swing and run! Giving our children a healthy start and nurturing our children's natural love of learning will help them become lifelong learners.
Encourage but don't push
Be careful not to overburden preschoolers with too much busy work, no need to burn them out before they get started. I made the mistake of trying to push my first preschooler to read too early. I learned that if I pushed too soon, it never turned out well. I have four boys and each of our boys learned to read at different times between the ages of 4 and 6. Observe your child and learn to read their "readiness" cues — teaching and learning becomes a natural process when the child is receptive and ready to learn.
Educational activities for preschoolers
Small children love nothing more than to imitate their parents; use this to your advantage while they're young! Include your preschooler when tackling daily tasks. Allow your little one to help in the kitchen, let him clean, or he can learn simple chores or work outside with Dad. Children are never too young to learn to help out around the home. It may take you twice as long to get things accomplished, but it will pay off in the long run!
Let your preschooler's creative juices flow; encourage your child to use his or her imagination. It has been proven time and time again that play builds learning skills! Use the following responses and behaviors to encourage creativity:
- Ask open-ended questions.
- Model creative thinking and behavior.
- Encourage experimentation.
- Allow opportunities for your child to get messy. Let him paint, create and mold.
- Use manipulatives! Manipulatives can be anything from LEGO pieces to Cheerios. While using manipulatives, children have fun, which increases engagement and motivation.
- Play music and bust a move! Research shows that listening to music, singing and dancing can help with reading, math, control, balance and self-esteem.
- Go outside. Let preschoolers explore the outdoors. Go on a bike ride or take a walk and encourage them to use their five senses.
Free online resources for preschool
- ABC Jesus Loves Me - free Christian preschool curriculum
- Brightly Beaming Resources - free preschool resources
- Everything Preschool - free lesson plans, craft ideas and more
- Hubbard's Cupboard - Bible-based lessons and activities for toddlers and preschoolers
- JumpStart - free printable worksheets
- Kid Sparkz - free curriculum and activity pages
- Preschool Palace - free and low-cost resources for parents and teachers
- Starfall - free resources for learning to read
- The Learning Community - early childhood resources
Time flies when you're in preschool. I hope you will savor each wondrous day with your preschooler. My boys are now 12, 10, 8 and 6; what I wouldn't give to start again and have them all in preschool.
Enjoy seeing the world through your little one's eyes. Nurture their love of learning and play often!