Tuesday, April 25, 2017

What is Our Cool Preschool?

Who are we?
We are a group of moms who work together to provide excellent preschool education for our own children, in our own homes. This began in 2002, and has grown stronger each year. There is no tuition, and usually no purchased curriculum. Expenses include a few shared supplies (for a Circle Time chart and basic reusable craft supplies).
What do we teach?
We are organized into small groups with a group leader, and set a calendar for the year. Each group meets to determine their own meeting times, curriculum and structure. Each mom teaches (hosts) one week at a time, then the rest rotate. So the average mom teaches one week in every 5 weeks. Each preschool gathering includes Circle Time, a lesson for that day, and play time. In Circle Time, children sit on mats and have rotating assignments to help with weather, calendar, counting, letters/word sounds, and singing. This provides a common classroom environment and structure to each gathering.
Lessons are usually based on the following:
1) A fabulous curriculum available here:___.
2) Focus on one letter of the alphabet per week, focus all lesson ideas around that letter (some begin with the letters beginning the children’s names)
3) Parents divide into their own areas of strengths and always teach that subject at their home (e.g. literacy, science, health, music, art, and social studies—including holidays and personal safety)
How are groups divided?
The following are the age divisions for the groups (children’s ages in September)
2-year-old play group—
  • 4 children per group
  • 1 day per week (sometimes 2 days per week 2nd half of the year); 2 hours long (e.g. Tues/Thurs 9:30-11:30)
3-year-old preschool—
  • 4-6 children per group
  • 2 days per week; 2 1/5 hours long (e.g. Tues/Thurs 9:30-12)
  • Includes lunch or snack
4-year-old preschool (Pre-K group)—
  • 6-8 children per group
  • 2-3 days per week (Usually Tues/Thurs with a Friday activity day or fieldtrip)
  • 3 hours (e.g. 9:30-12:30)
What else should I know?
  • We are not trained or equipped to work with children with behavioral or learning disabilities.
  • We do not support stepping in and out of a group. We take our job of educating our children seriously. Joining a group is a year-long commitment. If a host teacher has a conflict (or sick child), she asks another mom in the group to teach for her, or host a playgroup. This ensures parents and children can rely on this preschool like any other.
  • We divide the teaching fairly. Each mom teaches the same number of rotations. If a mom is expecting, she can calendar in extra rotations before having her baby. Obviously, unforeseen problems can arise, and we try to support each other. But we need to plan to be self-sufficient from the outset.
How do I join?
Contact Martha if you are interested in joining a group (marthaethington@hotmail.com). Groups are assigned immediately after Labor Day, when most people have moved and had a chance to settle into school districts. Group leaders hold a meeting the first week of school to discuss details/calendaring, and preschool usually begins the second week of school.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Children Around the World Preschool Lesson

Book: What Is Your Language? (one of our favorite preschool books of all time)

Take time to point out the pictures on each page and mention that in different countries they speak different languages and see different sights.  Have the kids repeat the "yeses" in all the different languages.

Activity: Tape the puppets onto popsicle sticks.  We used the countries that were mentioned in the in the book and had them practice more of their yeses in different languages.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Man on the Moon Preschool Lesson and Activity

Goodnight Moon
The Moon Book


Art Project:  Give each child a paper plate, flag, and a glob of salt dough, then have them make an impression of their foot in the dough.  Make sure that you point out the footprints the astronauts made on the moon.  

Activity:  Have the kids jump and dance around the room like there's not any gravity.  

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Preschool Map Lesson and Activity

So my kids are a few years past preschool now, but somehow I find myself teaching preschool lessons on a weekly basis again for our homeschool co-op.  Here's a lesson we recently did on maps:

First we read this very cute book:  As the Crow Flies: A First Book of Maps

The text is simple and narrates where some animals travel in a day.  Then it shows a simple map of where they've gone.  At the end the book shows one big map of where all the animals have gone.

Then we decided to make our own maps:

We used the following materials (one per person):
12 x 18 black construction paper
 white crayons
 matchbox cars

In advance I used the white crayon to draw a windy road and two houses for each child:

Then we helped them label each map to say "{child's name}'s Map" and whose house was whose on their map.

 Then we had the kids draw the lines down the center of the road and add any other landmarks they wanted to add (trees, ponds, other houses, etc).

After we were done labeling and drawing, I gave everyone a matchbox car to use follow their maps.  While they were playing, I reminded them about how people use maps to figure out where they're going.

The kids really enjoyed the book and the activity.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Grandmas and grandpas and respect

Our last circle time until Kindergarten! I tried to sneak in a little place value with our last focus number, 11.

We read a couple of cute books about grandmas and grandpas and other older people. This book was a story about a little boy who goes to visit his grandma and great-grandma every Sunday. In the book, the grandma would tie the great grandma to a chair so she could sit up and visit with the little boy. Ellie asked if this story was fiction or non-fiction, and I was even surprised to discover that it was based on a true story. In the story, both the grandma and great-grandma died, and we talked about where their spirits went since the book didn't cover that.

Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs

So, I tied them to their chairs while I read the story. Here's Gavin, with his tongue flopped out, looking very old. We talked about how our muscles are still very young and strong, but often-times, older people like grandmas and grandpas don't have such strong muscles.

We also looked at pictures of technology from the 1950's when most of their grandparents were about their age. We learned that there were no personal computers, Ipods, CD players, microwaves, or (gasp) movies in cars. We learned that if their grandma or grandpa had a television as a young child, it would have been black/white.

We also read this book, a story about a little boy who lived next door to an old folks' home.
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge (Picture Puffin)

We shared sad (like when your daddy leaves for the Philippines), warm (like when your mommy holds you), silly (like when you sister makes you laugh), and beach memories with each other, like the old lady and little boy in the book did.

We took a field trip to go visit our grandmas and grandpas. First, Gavin practiced reading our names and seat assignments. He was the ticket-hander-outer-guy:

We practiced matching our tickets to the seat numbers/letters. It took a long time to board the whole plane actually, especially when those already seated got up to help others find their correct seat:

There was a flight attendant. She handed out snacks, and when you were hungry and wanted more, she offered you a napkin. Sounds like Southwest, huh?

But we made it. We went to Texas, Washington, Minnesota (I think), Utah, Massachusetts, California, and Italy (I think someone was confused). Here's Simone, telling about her grandma. We practiced being very respectful, looking with our eyes, listening with our ears, and controlling our hands and voices while others were talking.

We made butterfly magnets. We colored coffee filters,

sprayed them with water to blur the colors,

then added antennae. We were going to give them to residents at the assisted living center, but now you can either send them to your own grandma or grandpa, or add them to the rest of your refrigerator art collection. Or keep them for yourselves, like Ellie wants to do.

While our butterfly wings dried, we worked on dot-to-dot books. "Easy peezy, lemon squeazy!" That's what Gavin says when he thinks something's easy, and he's proud of himself for doing it. The last couple *challenge* pages were a bit trickier, though. Gavin could still do them, and finished Haven's for her.

The kids played so nicely together. It was a really good last day of school. They shared the legos, even the Lego girl dresses:

They hammered and hammered:

Then, they worked together hammering some more:

But Maylie was the most serious about it; she used every second of her free time, working on this. I think we have a future architect/construction manager gal here:

Fun friends, fun teachers, fun year. Thanks, guys!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Today was my last day of teaching preschool....EVER!  Not that I'm excited or anything,  just possibly a little trunky.  So trunky, in fact, that I got to the end of preschool today and realized that we never even did circle time.  

(Don't worry I've already awarded myself the Spacey Teacher Award of the day, so you don't need to nominate me again). 

So what did we do all day if we didn't have circle time?

First we went outside and practiced looking all patriotic and cute.... 

As you can see....

it wasn't hard for them....

looking patriotic....
or cute....

They were all eager models...

with eager smiles...

After wearing out our smiling muscles we came back in and started working on our Flag Booklets.  It was crazy and I didn't take a single picture of the process, but they spent their time...

Making and decorating their booklet covers (oodles of cheap stickers were used in the process)....

 Affixed flag stickers from different countries around the world...

I had done this page in advance with the velcroed flag...

 This page was to help us remember that we live in a free country...

This page reminds us that we should take off our hats when we sing the Star Spangled Banner or say the Pledge of Allegiance.  They thought the movable hat was kind of cool....

 This page was time consuming for them.  They each traced their hand and cut it out.  I then laminated it and attached some Velcro to it, so they could stick it to the heart on the page.  We talked a lot about how we should put our right hands over our hearts to show respect for the flag.  Figuring out which one of their hands was the right one was a fun challenge too. :)

 This is where all the posing and looking cute at the beginning came in handy.  They each glued their cute patriotic picture down to this page with the Pledge of Allegiance. 

 This page was to remind us that we should never let the flag touch the ground.  Once again, they really liked the movable flag and pole. 

 This page showed them that there is a proper way to fold a flag.  We talked about how flags are rectangle shaped, but when we fold them they should end up looking like a triangle.

 And here was where I just threw in as many of the cute pictures as possible....

 And afterward we ate lunch, then listened to the Star Spangled Banner and practiced our flag etiquette (taking off our hats and placing our right hands over our hearts).  Everyone went home with 2 flags and a reminder that they shouldn't let them stay on the ground. 

Although I may have sent them off from their second to last day of preschool with a poor reminder of structure, it was a fun day and we all learned a lot together!