I have been excited to start “Tot School” with Kent since I first read about it months ago. If you’re not familiar with it yourself go check out the link for a full explanation. It basically just involves being more intentional with our playtime and making a point to do a lot of fun, varied activities. It’s perfect for someone like me who loves to plan everything. Of course, things have to stay super flexible since we’re dealing with a toddler here! Still, it is nice having a system in place that helps me pay better attention to what he’s learning.
We have only done this type of playtime randomly for the past few months. I’ve read about other parents starting regular sessions as early as 9 months but that just didn’t work out for us. Instead, we have only just started making “Tot School” a part of our normal routine since Kent’s first birthday this month.
For this post I just want to share some of the research I’ve been doing on education in general. We haven’t decided what type of formal schooling we’ll opt for down the line (i.e. homeschool, public school, private school) but we are planning to do preschool at home in place of an outside program. Everyone does preschool at home to some extent anyway. I know the “unschooling” movement is gaining in popularity right now (or at least it seems to be) and most parents I talk to have a pretty laid back approach to learning in the early years. That’s fine but… you know me… I have to research everything to death and I can’t take decisions like this lightly. Okay, I rarely take any decisions lightly. Anyone else spent multiple evenings researching sippy cups? I have! (It paid off, too, because the Klean Kanteen sippy rocks!!)
ANYWAY, on to the point of the article… since I am planning to take an active role in Kent’s education from inside our home I want to know what I’m up against. What are other children his age experiencing at structured day cares? What kind of developmental milestones would a day care provider be watching for and encouraging? What will his friends be learning as they progress through the local preschool programs? To answer these questions I spent several hours scouring the web, printing out information, and hashing through what I found.
Here are the most helpful documents I came across:
- The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers and Twos: A list of developmental goals for young children published by the curriculum provider for Western Michigan University’s Children’s Place Learning Center (i.e. a trusted daycare).
- The Creative Curriculum® for Preschoolers: a more specific list of goals and objectives by the same company, this time for preschool age children.
- Typical Course of Study Preschool Curriculum: a very helpful, very simple list compiled by World Book.
- Head Start Child Outcomes Framework: a long, cumbersome document. Most of the behaviors discussed are common sense things that a care provider should do or development type things that aren’t taught but should be observed in the “normal” child. A few helpful tidbits may be found towards the end.
- Michigan Common Core State Academic Standards: more for future reference, this is another long and cumbersome document that parallels my state’s academic standards with the newly adopted common core standards. It doesn’t apply until Kindergarten so I just briefly skimmed it and bookmarked it.
If you have any resources to share please link them up in the comments! What is your approach to early learning? Are you extra laid back or a little OCD like me?