Monday, June 25, 2018

Intro to Tot School: Themes & Schedule

The idea of Tot School derived from Mrs. Plemons' Kindergarten and her AMAZING tot school curriculum! Jessica has designed the best and most creative curriculum for toddlers, preschoolers and now, infants with her baby bins!

To get started with Tot School, there are some tips and tricks you can do now to prepare your curriculum, material storage, organization and planning ways to be creative and flexible when plans don't go as "planned."

Stages of Tot School
  1.  Baby Bins: Infant - Toddler (12 mon-2 yrs)
  2.  Tot School: Toddler - Preschooler (2-3 yrs)
  3.  Preschool: 3 yrs+
The stage you choose for your child should be based not only on his/her chronological age, but also their developmental age. If they are able to perform certain tasks without getting frustrated or discouraged, then they are ready for that stage. Remember, tot school is supposed to be FUN! 🎉

Tot School Concepts
The areas that are covered in Tot School are the following:

  1. Sensory Development
  2. Print Concepts/Literacy
  3. Math
  4. Science/Discovery
  5. Fine Motor Skills
  6. Gross Motor Skills
  7. Nutrition and more
We learn through play and do lots of fun activities indoors and outdoors. When we began our Tot School, Aria was about 14 months old and we started working with the Baby Bins focusing on one color a week. We are still working on the Baby Bins given that she is now 20 months old and in August/September, we will begin the Tot School stage! I am so excited to see all the new themes she will be learning about and exploring while having fun! 😍

Themes
Here is a calendar of the themes we hope to learn about this upcoming year of Tot School:
Click on the picture to grab your copy of this year's themes! 
There is a scope and sequence with the themes because as your child grows, the content and curriculum become more challenging and engaging. 

Our Schedule
So, we all know that life throws us curve balls and sometimes we are unable to accomplish what we would like. With that said, you can use your daily routines to drive your schedule. Below is an example of our weekly schedule. 
*PLEASE NOTE: We do travel throughout the year quite often and there may be weeks where we take our schooling on the road and others where we will just take a break and enjoy life!*
As previously stated, we may or may not follow this schedule everyday but Aria does really well with a schedule and routines. Therefore, we try to stick to it, or the time frames (more or less) each week. I teach VIPKID in the mornings anytime from 6:30 or 7:00 AM to 10:00 AM. Aria usually wakes up around 8:30 or 9:00 AM (I know, I'm so blessed! 💕) and my husband will get her or she will simply wait in her crib quietly until I go pick her up. Our morning routines consist of waking up, diaper change, cuddling, watching morning cartoons or reading a book, eating breakfast and drinking milk. 

Then, we'll begin our Tot School in the morning because she has her energy but is not tired as opposed to if I were to teach her in the afternoons. After our homeschooling sessions, we have lunch and she takes her nap. During her nap time, I will blog, plan/film/edit my YouTube videos for VIPKID or my SAHM adventures, and continue writing new content for you guys! 🤗

When she wakes up, we usually go for a walk or play in our yard and have snack time. Then, I cook dinner while my hubby watches her and/or plays with her. We'll have dinner and family time together, take a shower and start our nighttime routines. I will write a blog post about our nighttime routines and how I sleep trained my daughter at 7 weeks, soon! When 7:30 PM comes around, it's bedtime and I kiss my little sweetie goodnight and off to sleep she goes!

Theme Lesson Plans
Want to see a sneak peek of one of our Theme Lesson Plans? Click on the picture to grab your copy! 
Each theme will have the components you see here: Books, Sensory Bins, Fine Motor, Gross Motor and Food/Snacks. It will be organized by day of the week and you can get creative with the materials and content and make it your own!

Organization
Check out my post on Tot School Organization for more inspo and ideas on how to get your bins, materials, supplies and lesson plans organized and ready to go!
Supplies
Most of my supplies were from my previous years in the classroom and some were purchased on Amazon, Walmart or Target. You'll see in future posts where each item is from and where you can get the best deals on each item! I am a minimalistic person so I like to have only what I need and repurpose many materials so that they can be used more than once and in many different ways.

A Word of Advice
If there is anything I've learned from teaching, being a mom and business owner, it's that you have to learn to be FLEXIBLE! Things will happen, plans will fail, children may not react as you expected... you get the message. Get creative and make it exciting but don't overdo yourself to meet a certain type of expectation. Simply BE YOURSELF, do the best you can and HAVE FUN! The most amazing feeling is seeing the world through your child's eyes and seeing the magic in their eyes as they light up when they've learned something new or really enjoyed something that day. With that said, my friends, enjoy teaching and learning from your children because we all know, we learn more from them that they do from us! 😉

Stay tuned for more of our Tot School adventures!


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