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mathmarm

If you do Non-Academic Kindy, lets chat :)

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I'm thinking that I like the 2 years of Kindy format that I've noticed some people do. A K4 and K5 year. My little guy likes "school" and we love teaching him, but I'm looking for ways to expand beyond Early Academics.

 

How would you plan the two years? Do you have broad over-arching objectives for each year or do you have a "pre-1st" objective? I want him to make it to 1st grade eager to learn, so that's my main thing right now. Build a sense of wonder about the world and protect the love of learning.

 

I want to keep him moving and growing. We love the Kumon books on cutting/pasting/mazes/tracing and while we do some academics, I'd like to build a "Circle time/Learning routine" that is less book-based and not as academic-centric as it currently leans.

 

I'm a planner. Even when they don't work out precisely,I need a spine/platform to work from. I'm thinking of putting him in lessons for sports and/or music, park days, field trips around the city. I want to keep the routine/habit of books, but I want to build a schedule that is less "Schooly" and more "learny" if that makes any sense.

 

Can anyone help me flip my thinking and get my mind outside of the box?

 

Please note that Hubby and I both work FT outside the home and our "just living" doesn't really include things that enrich a young child, so we like to have things planned and ready in the pipes that we can just pull out, so to speak.

 

It's far more likely that we'll go "cook something together" type activity with the kids, if there are things on hand to be cooked and those things don't require a boat load of prep on our part, and we manage to "just read" by keeping books always in arms reach and setting aside time each day to share books with our kids, but if it weren't a part of the schedule, then it wouldn't be likely to get done, etc.

 

I'm not one of those super moms who just make things happen, so yes, planning ahead and having a schedule and routine actually enables us to gets things done around here, even the "fun extras".

 

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I always viewed K4 as a fancy name for prek. I never thought of it as different

 

When I was coming up there was Kindergarten that lasted half-a-day and you talked about the ABCs, had snack and took a nap. I have no idea what all these new-fangled classes are.

 

But I've even seen people use PK3, PK4, K4 and K5 as the years of school so I realized that I no longer know anything about anything.

 

I do like the idea of 2 years for Kindergarten, instead of 1. It seems like it could be a great idea for our family.

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When I was coming up there was Kindergarten that lasted half-a-day and you talked about the ABCs, had snack and took a nap. I have no idea what all these new-fangled classes are.

 

But I've even seen people use PK3, PK4, K4 and K5 as the years of school so I realized that I no longer know anything about anything.

 

I do like the idea of 2 years for Kindergarten, instead of 1. It seems like it could be a great idea for our family.

The curriculums and schools I know that do K4 and K5 actually have a heavier emphasis on academics. The one that comes to mind is abeka. It's preschool curriculum is referred to as K4 and has a lot of worksheets and high expectations for 4 year olds.

 

My dd did 2 years of preschool and will start K this fall at 5.5. So I guess I'm just confused how 2 years of K will look different than a year of preschool and then a year of K? Unless you stretched one K curriculum over 2 years.

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I do music and movement for preschool. I also try to include some sort of art or craft. I use making music, praying twice (Catholic) but I think picking up a couple of the wee sing books would be a good option too. I'm planning to fold my preschooler in with my olders next year for crafty stuff, but if I was just doing it for him, I would probably do the mp pre-k craft book and the related read-alouds.

 

ETA: my preschooler also does we choose virtues, including the related song and coloring page.

Edited by Syllieann

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The curriculums and schools I know that do K4 and K5 actually have a heavier emphasis on academics. The one that comes to mind is abeka. It's preschool curriculum is referred to as K4 and has a lot of worksheets and high expectations for 4 year olds.

I'm not really looking to purchase a curriculum that says K4/K5, so much as I'm looking for...something. I guess ideas that are fun and engaging?

We don't do well with crafts-for-crafts sake.

My dd did 2 years of preschool and will start K this fall at 5.5. So I guess I'm just confused how 2 years of K will look different than a year of preschool and then a year of K? Unless you stretched one K curriculum over 2 years.

I'm looking to find non-academic programs and activities to engage Jr in for the next couple of years.

 

We do book work, but I want to make sure that I have non-academic activities in our routine, and I am trying to think of non-academic things that we can plan and bring into our home to engage Jr. Life gets so busy that a lot of the time that we spend together is rushed, or else it's book-centered.

 

Jr loves books, but I want to make sure that it's balanced by other things and that having two academics for parents doesn't squash other parts either.

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Does he have legos? My 5 year old just got into actual lego sets. They've been excellent for working on fine motor and following instructions.

 

Michaels and Joanne's have lots of craft sets that are open and go. Or buy a large craft jar and let him have at it. We don't do a lot of structured crafts, but I let DD have free reign with materials.

 

Or I set out paper cut into shapes with other objects (Pom Pom, Google eyes, etc) and let her make robots or flowers or something.

 

Usborne has a lot of craft idea books.

 

Board games are great for learning while playing.

 

Pattern blocks and other math manipulatives. My kiddos play with these free Reign and they really incoorporate learning into their play.

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This past year we did a gentle year that involved what I have seen other cultures focus on so take any ideas you like:

 

Chess

 

Folk dance- we picked from where we are living, but you could choose something from your family background or whatever interests you

 

Storytelling- I told a story over and over then once ds knew it well was able to tell it. We focused on good speaking skills. I didn't use books for this just common stories (3 little pigs, goldilocks, little red ridinghood, etc.)

 

Puppets- ds loved shadow puppets to tell stories

 

Board games

 

Memory work- poems, scripture, languages

 

Foreign language

 

Handcrafts- we did finger knitting, weaving

 

Cooking skills

 

And we also did a lot of time with elderly listening to life stories

 

Tea time to learn formal manners

 

Formal dining at home to learn manners

 

Jump rope, hopscotch, bike riding, swinging on own

 

Fine motor skills- play dough, beads, scissors, etc

 

Phonetic awareness skills and games

 

Piano lessons

 

Every other day we did a long walk (up to 4km)

 

Read alouds

 

Family devotion time

 

Singing hymns, worship songs, kids songs

 

Childrens folk songs

 

Meditation

 

 

Wow! Long list but it was fun. We are now entering more acedemic work and I am glad we did all these things!

Edited by lolo

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Oh ravensburg puzzles

 

Pattern blocks (we also found holiday themes online)

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We do have some board games, but they are on the hard to reach shelf, I'll have to pull some down and keep a couple in low-shelf rotation. I like the idea of reading  Nursery Rhymes--but I rarely actually do it. We have a big book of mother goose and it's just...not my cup of tea.

 

Jr is bilingual in ASL (deafness runs in the family) and English and we are big on finger plays and hand games though I wish there were more that were blatantly educational/factual as well.

 

This past year we did a gentle year that involved what I have seen other cultures focus on so take any ideas you like:

 

Chess

 

Folk dance- we picked from where we are living, but you could choose something from your family background or whatever interests you

 

Storytelling- I told a story over and over then once ds knew it well was able to tell it. We focused on good speaking skills. I didn't use books for this just common stories (3 little pigs, goldilocks, little red ridinghood, etc.)

 

Puppets- ds loved shadow puppets to tell stories

 

Board games

 

Memory work- poems, scripture, languages

 

Foreign language

 

Handcrafts- we did finger knitting, weaving

 

Cooking skills

 

And we also did a lot of time with elderly listening to life stories

 

Tea time to learn formal manners

 

Formal dining at home to learn manners

 

Jump rope, hopscotch, bike riding, swinging on own

 

Fine motor skills- play dough, beads, scissors, etc

 

Phonetic awareness skills and games

 

Piano lessons

 

Every other day we did a long walk (up to 4km)

 

Read alouds

 

Family devotion time

 

Singing hymns, worship songs, kids songs

 

Childrens folk songs

 

Meditation

 

 

Wow! Long list but it was fun. We are now entering more acedemic work and I am glad we did all these things!

WOW! THANKS! This is an excellent list!

Some of these are things I'd have never thought of!

Edited by mathmarm

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For a different approach, can you spend half a day on Saturdays at a farm?  There is so much to learn but it's not "academic."  My kids' horse riding place takes kids quite young and eases them into all aspects of farm work.

 

Cooking together is a great idea of course, but one I've never really been successful at.  I did buy a bunch of themed cookbooks.  I'm missing the discipline to make a plan.  Just one recipe a week (Saturday or Sunday), and write down the ingredients in advance to be sure they are purchased before cooking day.  :)  Of course there are mom-and-kid cooking classes at some "natural" grocery stores and at Junior Chefs.  But they are always at inconvenient times / places for us.

 

Board games are another fun way to use thinking skills as a family without it being "academic."  This is another thing I've failed at, but at least my kids have each other to play with.  :)

 

Working on a building project together at a set time each week might also be worthwhile.

 

Going on guided hikes at the nearby nature preserves / national parks (ours are always free).  We also plan on adopting a path to keep up throughout the year.

 

Volunteering to work with shelter animals an hour here and there.

 

Yes to age-appropriate sports and instrumental music.  He can learn the rules and skills, and also how to get himself ready and take care of his equipment.

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Another thing - we used to go to a live musicals, watch them on DVD, and listen to the soundtracks in the car.  It got to where my kids were acting out the Phantom of the Opera with their Barbie dolls.

 

Here, there aren't any hands-on theater options that young, but it is something to think about as he gets a little older.  It is a nice twist on literacy that also incorporates art, dance, music, speech, and working on a team.

Edited by SKL

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 I like the idea of reading  Nursery Rhymes--but I rarely actually do it. We have a big book of mother goose and it's just...not my cup of tea.

 

This has been a great resource for me this year -:

 

http://curry.virginia.edu/go/wil/rimes_and_rhymes.htm

 

We do a rhyme a week from their lesson plans and use the printables provided. The kids especially like acting out the nursery rhymes. 

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This has been a great resource for me this year -:

 

http://curry.virginia.edu/go/wil/rimes_and_rhymes.htm

 

We do a rhyme a week from their lesson plans and use the printables provided. The kids especially like acting out the nursery rhymes. 

 

THANK YOU guys so, so much!

 

If anyone else is looking for non-academic workbooks for the K kid then I was at Sams today and found BIG Hidden Pictures and More, BIG Mazes and More, and another one on Dot to Dots.

 

They are cheaper on Amazon than at Sams so I ordered them instead of buying them in the store.

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THANK YOU guys so, so much!

 

If anyone else is looking for non-academic workbooks for the K kid then I was at Sams today and found BIG Hidden Pictures and More, BIG Mazes and More, and another one on Dot to Dots.

 

They are cheaper on Amazon than at Sams so I ordered them instead of buying them in the store.

You may like Hooked on Puzzles K. It's by the people who do Hooked on Phonics and it's such a fun maze and puzzle book

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I do kindergarten with my six year olds.

 

I read aloud **a lot** at that age. Two hours throughout the day, minimum.

 

My first child was an anomaly so I won't bother saying what he did, but my second child started learning how to read at six y/o with MP's First Start Reading books, which and I both loved.

 

We went outside every day and I talked about nature **a lot**.... Once a week we went to the beach and one a week to a pond. I gave him a nature notebook and nicer colored pencils, and lots of drawing books.

 

I taught him how to fold rectangles (wash cloths, towels, sheets, etc) and he started learning origami.

 

I fed him well and ruthlessly guarded his sleep.

 

He did a lot of puzzles and played with lots of playdough, kinetic sand, water, etc.

 

I had a stool in the kitchen so that he could help any time, and the kids had their own plastic knives.

 

He played a lot of card games, too. Old maid, Go fish, etc.

 

The best thing I did, besides reading SO much (and keeping naptime til they were past pre-K age!) and *going outside**, was let them play. For hours and hours, unstructured, together, alone, with us, with other ids, whatever.

 

 

 

 

 

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I have been working in preschools for the last couple of years, and I have been influenced by Waldorf school philosophy. Along those lines, I emphasize traditional "fairy tales" including Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Three Pigs, the Three Billy Goats Gruff, and the Little Red Hen. I tell a new story each week and use either puppets or flannel board characters to act out the story. I then let the children play with the pieces as a free play choice. You can use the stories to emphasize different letters (and numbers), if you wish. Waldorf schools also emphasize nursery rhymes too.

 

I also enjoy doing Waldorf inspired crafts, including watercolor painting using liquid watercolors (available in craft stores such as Michael's and Joann) in primary colors. Introduce a new color each week, to give your child an immersion in that particular color. I have also made with my own children beeswax candles (using kits), which have been a big hit. I particularly like the Waldorf craft book called Earthways, which has other suggestions. 

 

I second visiting farms, and my children have all enjoyed going to pick your own farms throughout the growing season for various fruits and vegetables. Cooking and baking with your child is great too. Many children also enjoy sweeping with a child size broom and some will vacuum. My son adored mopping the floor, and while it flooded our home, the floor never looked better! Washing dishes could also be fun. 

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