Magoo is currently 20 months old, but this plan is applicable for ages 18-24 months. I have found the most important thing in planning school lessons is understanding the phase of development my kids are in and being aware of the things they are learning. I check milestones as listed by age for things Magoo may be interested in doing. I’ve also found it helpful to read the Montessori philosophy on teaching toddlers. Particularly, being aware that Magoo is in a sensitive period for order (the first phase in the Montessori approach) has made me realize how important our daily routine and structure is for a toddler.
The biggest part of tot school being successful is having a dedicated area for Magoo. One side of our classroom/playroom has a prepared environment designed for a toddler. There is queen size foam mattress pad on the floor with low shelves on either side. The black shelves contain learning toys that I rotate weekly. The lowest of the built in white shelves has the boys lap desks and a home for an extra blanket. The second shelf has room for three trays. This area is where Magoo does all of his “school”. It is also the favorite spot for reading, and Magoo usually snuggles with Bebop and me as we read our Pre-K books.
Magoo gets three “assignments” a day on his trays (cookie sheets from the dollar store). Until December, there will be a featured color and shape each week. (Great examples at Memorizing the Moments, although I don’t plan to use as many printables as she does. It all depends on how much Magoo wants to do.) If Magoo does his assignments each day, then they will get switched. Otherwise, I’ll leave them up for the week. I know I haven’t explained exactly what will be on the trays every day, and honestly I’m not sure what they will be every week. I will pull ideas from several places that I think Magoo may be interested in doing. My two main resources are the Tot School linkup hosted weekly by Carisa at 1+1+1=1 and the Montessori At Home ebook. Carisa’s Blog is a huge resource for early education and one I highly recommend. Through her weekly tot school link ups, I’ve found other bloggers with kids just a little older than Magoo. As they post things, I write down ideas. The Montessori At Home book is really intended for older preschool children, but I plan to use some of the recommendations for transfer activities and practical life exercises.
Magoo will be 2 in November and the plan will change slightly. In December, we will take a break from the regular curriculum and I will have advent activities for both boys. After the new year, if Magoo is ready, I will introduce a letter each week and use that as our theme. When he is ready for more challenges, I will also increase the number of trays on his shelves.
Wondering what Bebop’s doing this year? You can read all about his Pre-Kindergarten Curriculum.