Projects Part 1: Preschool Things

This past week I’ve had a few opportunities to do some projects around the house. I’m not talking remodels. For me that means making learning tools with my too-articulate-for-her-age newly four year old, and turning something old into something new.

Let’s start with the preschool projects:

1. Preschool Picture Schedule – A few months ago I reached my mama-limit for how many times I could be asked and respond to the question, “What are we doing today?” Being asked once, sure. Twice, okay. Four-bazillion times in the course of five minutes? We needed a new plan. So I made these picture cards for our daughter to be able to see what the big event for the day will be and who we are doing it with. And I was super excited when I scored this great pocket chart for $3 at a garage sale last week in order to display it for her in the playroom. Our main haunts of the zoo, the beach, the children’s museum, church, the park, and Target are all there. Usually they are all turned over and I just face the pertinent cards for that day forward so she can look at an instant what we’re going to do and who we’re doing it with. The asking has cut way back and now I can just point to the chart instead of get annoyed. Now that our system is in place though I think I’m going to make picture cards for our specific parks we visit because like any well-prepared girl, Selah needs to know if we’re headed to a grassy, sandy, or wood-chip park. Why? Because girl’s gotta wear the right shoes.

Preschool Picture Schedule

2: Tactile Alphabet Book

Selah Grace just celebrated her 4th birthday and declared that this is the year she learns to read. She asked me if I could teach her “tomorrow” and it took a little explaining that learning to read is a long process and that we start by learning the sounds letters make. Back in my teaching lifetime I really enjoyed teaching little children to read. Girl doesn’t quite know what she signed herself up for when she asked me to teach her!

We are starting small and with letters she knows well – the ones in her name. We spent a few afternoons focusing on the sounds the letters in her name say and creating tactile alphabet cards for her. We brainstormed items that start with that sound and went on scavenger hunts for things in the house and garden that begin with those sounds.

Elmo is a diva at our house so he had to make an appearance. For the lower case e, we washed eggshells and removed any membrane. She then cracked it into little pieces and glued eggshell mosaic inside the letter border.

For the l card we went multi-sensory and added some lavender that also smells really great. She chose the leaf from the yard and added a few puffy ladybugs on it.

The a page took a dedicated search for bumpy feeling ant stickers, but was finally accomplished. Those are appleseed glued into the lower-case a. We are adding more as apples get eaten in our house.

That’s the gist. The S page is the letter s cut out of scratchy sandpaper with soft cotton balls around it. The H page has hearts glued inside the letters created from felt and glitter-lined scrapbook paper. All of it is very tactile/ textural for her to be able to trace her fingers on the shape of the letter as we say the sound the letter makes. This way she is learning the phonemes for the letters and also creating triggers in her little brain about what it should feel like to write that letter. Eventually we’ll make an entire alphabet.

If your family has found a “preschool project” that has revolutionized your lives, PLEASE share with me! I want to know! Some of them are so simple, but can totally change the course of the morning, the mama’s attitude, and therefore, the rest of the family’s day!

I know every parent thinks it, but Nate and I are blown away by how sharp-minded our daughter is. It’s going to be a fun year for us teaching her about the world and life and unlocking doors to amazing things, like literacy. Such giant ideas and life-changing opportunities that have to begin in such tiny ways. With the shapes of letters. And phonemes. And bumpy, bedazzled bug stickers.



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