Monday, October 4, 2010

Joy School

For the past several years, I have gotten together with a couple of other moms for an in-home preschool program we do with our young children. Just to be clear, there is an official preschool curriculum you can purchase that is called 'Joy School' but we have not done that. We make up our own lessons and come up with our own activities, but we do share the same name.

The three of us rotate the weekly task of hosting. The host provides the lesson and all the associated activities and required materials. On a typical week, our children could expect a simple lesson, a science demonstration, songs, games, activities, arts and crafts, stories, a snack, video clips, and even an occasional field trip. I learn something new at Joy School every week - and it is aimed at our three-year-olds!

We have a different theme for each month of our school year, and this year's themes are: Nature, Seasons, Learning Basics, Oceans, Bodies, Animal Kingdom, World Cultures, Geography, Outer Space and Dinosaurs. Each month is then further broken down into individual learning units. For example, September's theme was Nature and on the first week we learned about plants. Week two was birds, week three was bugs and spiders, and week four was a field trip to the river bottom where we hunted and explored to find the things we had learned about.

We have found that our little 'students' thrive on routine, plenty of stimulation, and age appropriate activities. That last part has been easier this year, because with our older ones moved off into kindergarten, our whole class is the same age! Our day begins by singing our 'Hello, how do you do song' and after singing it through once, each child gets a turn to insert an action into the lyrics. It is not unusual for us to be jumping, crawling, clapping, spinning, or even slithering around as we sing. We sing 'O Canada' and Salute the Flag, then move into our lesson. When the fun is all over and it is time to go, we sing our good-bye song, naming and waving to each child. The whole shebang lasts about two hours.

All of my children have loved this special learning time with their friends, and it has been great for me as a mom. I have a scheduled time, on the calender, when I know I will be devoting my full time and energies to teaching my child about the world around them. I won't be multitasking, or thinking about other things, and I know that I won't put off our plans so I can get something terribly mundane accomplished instead, like the laundry.

Long Live Joy School!

1 comment:

  1. do all the parents stay during joy school? How does that work if there are younger siblings?


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