As a former teacher, I was no stranger to curriculum development; in fact, developing curriculum is something I absolutely love doing! While teaching general music and chorus in the public schools, I sought after opportunities to research, organize and design new courses and units frequently. I began pooling together resources to continue this passion of mine in my own home. My initial encounters with 1+1+1=1 led me to another awesome resource, the blog Totally Tots and its corresponding website Totally Tots. I was overwhelmed at first. There was so much information out there and so many ideas. I had to come up with a way to streamline my thoughts and make a plan of implementation.
I used the Once Upon a Book archives from the Totally Tot website as a basis. I chose a monthly theme inspired by themes found at Once Upon a Book, and then a book of a week that corresponded with the monthly theme. The activities throughout the month/week go along with the overall monthly theme and weekly book. Around March I began also implementing a Letter of the Month. I try to choose words that begin with the letter of the month that are also somehow related to our theme/book as well, although sometimes this can be a stretch. I will slowly be adding the lesson plans and pictures of our Tot School journey for each month below. Here are the themes we have explored so far:
- January 2012- Snow/Winter
- February 2012- Love
- March 2012- Eric Carle (I could have spent many, many months on this theme!
- April 2012- Easter and New Life
- May 2012- Oceans
- Each week, as I mentioned, I chose a BOOK related to the theme.
- I then chose a BIBLE VERSE that corresponds to the book/theme. (Many of these verses I have gotten from the Once Upon a Book archives.) The Bible verses may be a little over the girls' comprehension at this point, but it is never too early to saturate our children with the word of God. Sometimes they do surprise me though with their retention and comprehension.
- Being that I was previously a music teacher, each week we learn a few new SONGS and spend some time playing wooden instruments and dancing to various genres of music.
- I try to do 1 or 2 "PROJECTS" a week. The girls love this time. We put on their smocks and get out the vinyl tablecloth, they know its time to get creative (and messy!)
- As mentioned, we have a Letter of the Month with a WORD OF THE WEEK. We will usually have a hands on activity or two relating to the word of the week.
- Another element I have been incorporating, is a SENSORY BIN. The girls love pulling this out and exploring the new items.
- I love to bake. I also try to chose one FOOD FUN related activity to do with the girls. Yum!
- Throughout the week, as time and attention spans allow, we will also explore:
- math connections (counting, patterns...)
- science connections
- motor skills (felt board, magnetic board, opening containers, sorting...)
- colors, shapes
- physical tasks (ie. jumping, rolling, tumbling...