I belong to a non-sectarian (non-political, non-religious-affiliated) homeschool group in my county. Last year a few of us who had preschool-aged kids got together and decided to start a little preschool co-op.
What is a co-op? I’ve been asked that before. For us, it’s a like a normal preschool, except it’s one day a week. Instead of dropping our kids off, we- the moms- are there the entire time. Instead of hiring someone to teach, we do the teaching ourselves. We meet in the basement of a very gracious church.
Last year was a blast. Our kids had a great time, and I found my weeks to teacher were incredibly enjoyable too! An added bonus was getting to know the other moms and their kids as well!
Armed with the knowledge and experience of a successful year of co-oping, us moms decided to do it again this year, but with some changes. We wanted to add to the curriculum to make it appropriate for our now kindergarten-aged kids, but still be able to include our preschoolers (a few of us have one of each, some of us have more!). Another change we made was our teaching rotation. Last year we just rotated week after week, letter by letter. This year we wanted to add a little more stability to know when we were going to be teaching, and we decided to tackle an entire month at a time.
This is my month. I chose the them of fall! Yay!
Here’s what we did this week:
I’m breaking the month down into 4 mini-themes all having to do with fall: Apples, Leaves, Pumkins, and then…Halloween! The Apple week I forgot my camera. (sad face, it was fun!) This week is leaf week.
I brought my 2 sensory tubs in for an open-play activity at the beginning and end. I’ve got 2 sensory tubs that I rotate the contents in seasonally. I had the Halloween themed tub all ready in use- black beans with all sorts of little Halloween goodies: little erasers, rubber bats and spiders, some skeletons, and orange plastice skeleton hands. Add in a few cups and spoons, and it’s a great activity for little hands. I made a fall themed one with my pinto beans, some silk leaves, a few fall-color jingle bells, some color pom poms, and more cups, spoons, and tongs.
They were a hit!
Then it was time for our Hello song and a story about seasons. I love reading to little kids, seeing their faces, watching them react to the words and pictures in the stories. It’s amazing. I took some pictures, butit’s hard to take pictures and read a story at the same time, so those didn’t turn out too well.
After that, we talked about different things to do in each season, then we sorted pictures of different seasonal activities and the kids got to help me sort them and glue them on a poster. Then we graphed our favorite season on a pictograph. Fall won, yay! Finally, I made a cube with pictures representing the different seasons, when the child rolled the cube, they had to tell us what his/her favorite activity is in the season they rolled. The kids seemed to like this activity- who doesn’t like to tell stories? (well, my shy little Mary doesn’t, but she liked watching everyone else go).
Then we read Fall is Not Easy, by Marty Kelley. Funny book! It’s about a tree who finds it hard just to get the right colors in the fall, only to lose them all to winter: winter is easy! We made our own fall color trees, using painted fingerprints as leaves. We managed to keep the mess to a minimum, but their trees looked great!
Another story, Autumn Leaves by Ken Robbins taught us about different leaves from different tress. Then writing and color practice came next in making books about leaf colors.
Finally, one of my favorite authors, Lois Ehlert, entertained us with her cute Leaf Man story. Afterwards the kids got to make their own leaf men (and women) with real leaves I’d gather from our area the last couple weeks.