A few neighbors and I, all looking for a bit of a break during the day and some social time for the kids but unhappy with formal MDOs or preschools for two-year-olds, have formed a co-op, hired a teacher, and worked up a rough curriculum / schedule. We started our “school” last week. Caroline *loves* school so far.
We have four kids — three moms will rotate as hosts and one mom works from home and has donated her nanny as the teacher’s assistant. We each pay our teacher $20 a week. School is from 9:30 until noon on Mondays and Wednesdays. This first week, the moms stayed to model the curriculum for the teacher and help the kids adjust. Next week, the teacher will run the show and us moms will linger elsewhere in the host’s home. After that, we’ll play it by ear, having an open-door policy for moms to be there whenever they’d like. The host mom will be at home during school hours, but will only get involved if she is needed.
Each week, we’ll have a theme based on a story or picture book. We’ll incorporate the theme into the snack, craft, songs, etc. This week we read Pete’s a Pizza. One day, the kids made mini pizzas for snack. They also made their own pizzas on the felt board.
Here’s our routine (subject to change for special guests or activities, which will be planned often.)
9:30-9:45 Circle Time — Hello Song, calendar and weather, concept book (shapes, colors, numbers, alphabet), song with movement/motions, story book
9:45-10:15 Work Time — Child-chosen, individual activities based on the Montessori work period
10:15-10:35 Snack — kids wash hands, prepare snack, eat, and help clean up
10:35-10:50 Sharing Time — “show and tell”, phonics song, music with instruments
10:50-11:20 Arts / Craft — some days, free expression; some days, planned craft
11:20-12 Free play, usually outside
A new aspect of our school is that two of the kids are bilingual, speaking Spanish exclusively at home and just beginning to use English. They’ll improve their English, and I’m excited that Caroline will be exposed to more Spanish than I could ever use with her. The teacher is bilingual, and our teacher’s aid speaks Spanish and a bit of English.
I’m really excited about our program. It being a co-op, I have lots of say in how I want it run. And we all know I have strong opinions on how I want my daughter educated. Since it is home-based, I don’t feel like I’m starting my daughter in any kind of institutional program too early. She’s still at-home (or at a friend’s home.)
I’m sure I’ll post again about our little adventure.