Today was my girls’ first day of preschool! They were SO excited about it! They got their backpacks out and we put a book and some pencils and paper in them, along with some snack, and they were ready to go!
We are doing a group homeschool-type preschool (or joy school?). We meet once a week for two hours at someone’s home and one of us mothers is in charge of prepping and teaching the lesson. We determined that each week will have a letter theme, as well as one number, from 1-10, and then will have a shape or color eventually. We have the rest of this year all planned out as to who’s in charge of which weeks, when days will be off, and what letters we will all have.
Since I really wanted to spearhead this idea, I said I would go first! So, today was not only my daughters’ first day of preschool, but my first day of teaching preschool as well! So, I had the letter A and the number 1. I decided to introduce the Alphabet (A) and the numbers 1-10 (#1). It went really well from my perspective, and I thought I did a great job (humble, I know). It only took up about an hour of the allotted two hour time span, but that’s what I planning on, allowing the other hour for some free and fun playtime for the five kids in our preschool group, two of which are mine. Before we started I had one of the little students say a prayer. The follow is a brief outline of my lesson:
Introducing the Alphabet or A is for Alphabet
The first part of the lesson was introducing the alphabet. Since the kids are at different levels with knowing and identifying the letters of the alphabet, I knew it would be a good idea to just introduce the whole alphabet for them. I knew that they would all likely already know the ABCs song, or the Alphabet song, so I hung up an ABCs Wall Banner (that I picked up for about 97 cents from Wal-mart) around the dining room we were sitting at. We sang the song one time through just to sing it, and then we sang it two more times, this time, pointing to the letters on the signs as we sang. I talked about how letters were very useful. I said that once we know our letters, we can start to learn words. And once we learn words, we can learn how to read books and other things. And when we know how to read, we can go on fun adventures!
I then read the board book “Animal Alphabet: Slide and Seek the ABC’s,” which I already had in my kids’ book collection, to the children, having them tell me the animals that go with each letter, and occasionally the sound the animal makes.
Then, I got out a foam alphabet puzzle that I had picked up for a dollar at Staples about a year ago. The letters in my puzzle were lower case, so I briefly told them that each letter of the alphabet had both a big, or capital, version and a small, lowercase, version. They completed the puzzle together. If I was more crafty we could have done some fun printable letter crafts too.
As the last thing in my alphabet introduction, I had them look around the house for letters on things – books, pictures, toys, whatever – and to tell us that they found letters.
As they were running around doing that, I was setting up for my next segment:
Introducing the Numbers 1-10
I thought it would be hard to just introduce the number one without introducing numbers as a whole, so I did a brief introduction to numbers and counting. The first thing I did was get 10 piles of things, each pile representing a different number from 1-10, 55 objects in total on the table. I kept each object the same/similar per number. I then put a foam bath number (which I also already had on hand) underneath each pile. One of the moms suggested counting the piles and having the kids assigning the correct number to each pile, but since I was just introducing the numbers, I thought it wouldn’t be fair to them if they didn’t know how to name the numbers yet. Here is what it looked like:Number 1 – One small flashlight.
Number 2 – Two No. 2 Pencils
Number 3 – Three hair clips
Number 4 – Four horse figurines
Number 5 – Five plastic spoons
Number 6 – Six zebra-stripped candles
Number 7 – Seven paperclips
Number 8 – Eight fairy markers
Number 9 – Nine rubber bands
Number 10 – Ten pennies
I essentially ran around my house trying to find small, everyday type objects to use, and came up with the above list. I counted the objects together with the preschoolers, moving them one-by-one as I did so. When we got to the last count, I then lifted up the foam number and showed it to them, telling them that’s what that number looked like.
I explained to them that numbers are so important and that we use numbers for all sorts of things, things like telling the time, using a calendar, cooking, calling people, doing math, using money, and more! I read the book Ten Apples Up On Top! by Theo. LeSieg to them (which I also already owned). I then had them do the foam number puzzle I had (bought for a dollar at Staples as well). I again had the children run around the house looking for numbers on various objects – I suggested clocks, phones, plaques, music books, and more. As they did that, I cleaned up the objects and puzzles and got out our craft.
Preschool Apple Print Craft
Since A is for Apple as well as alphabet, and we had just read the Ten Apples Up On Top! book, I thought it would be fun to do an apple stamp print activity I had seen floating around pinterest. I didn’t actually look at any directions, since it seemed rather self-explanatory. I got out some acyclic paint, sponge and hair brushes, water, tablecloth, and construction paper. I sliced some apples down the center, showed the kids how to do it, explaining that we don’t eat paint or wipe it on our shirts (should’ve gotten some sort of smocks or old shirts for the kids to wear…). After they had done a few stamps with the apples, I gave them another sheet and let the paint the first letter of their names, as well as just paint a little for fun. After this activity, we had them clean up themselves, cleaned up the art supplies, and then got out our treat – Apples with Caramel dip! Yum!
The whole thing took about an hour, and then there was time for eating the snack, any other food or snacks the kids had brought, and lots of time to just play. I really liked my lesson. It incorporated music, reading books, doing puzzles, mini scavenger hunts, counting, a healthy treat, and a fun art activity.
The next letter I will be in charge of for my homeschool preschool group is the letter E. I plan on doing E for Eggs. I will also have the number 5, which I plan on doing something with our toes and fingers. I already have some great ideas. And I have a month to finalize them. I may try to share what some of the other moms in my group do, permission and time pending. I will also have the letter I, which I intend to do I for Ice.
I did find this cool way for kids to explore colors mixing too!
Aren’t you excited about those upcoming lessons? What have you done to introduce letters and numbers with your preschoolers?
Katie Clark says
Love how everything turned out! I definitely am going to have to use some of these ideas 🙂
That is great, next time just use lower case letters and start with, m and then add in trace paper to do a cursive m not print. when you do the alphabet always introduce the vowels a says a and aaaa,. when you do numbers always start with 0, 1, 2, my three year old and 4 year old son are both reading. the methods really work. the sooner they can read the better.
Shelbi – You’ll have to tell more about your method, cause I am not sure where to go from here. My girls already know most of their letters, know some of the sounds they make, and Lisa even writes, on her own, letters. I feel like my kids could learn how to read soon if I knew more of what to do.
Sarah M says
That really was a fantastic lesson! I love how you didn’t just give them flash cards and try to help them memorize the letters, but you put them in context and gave them many different mediums to experience the alphabet and letters. Weren’t you an Art Education major at some point? It sure seems like you’ve had some training and experience teaching. Really, it was great. I’d send my kids to your pre-school lessons if I could. 🙂
I don’t even own flashcards. 🙂 My kids can already identify most of their letters, but some in the group cannot yet so I tried to make sure that we made it accessible for all, thus the various learning methods. If only I had known a good counting song… wait, just thought of one: The Ants Go Marching. Dang.
I was an art education major for about a year. I did a semester visiting some classrooms in different schools and co-teaching some lessons. I really wanted/want to be a teacher, but the timing just wasn’t right. But, I guess I get my opportunity with my kids, the others in this group, and my various callings at church. It all works out in the end. I love teaching, even when the kids are crazy (my Primary class…).
Brenna @ Life After Laundry says
I loved reading about your first day of preschool- teaching. Such great ideas and I can’t wait to use them with my little guy. I have to say though I am a bit sad that I don’t have a group of moms to do this with, I know you will all have so much fun!
I hope your little guy enjoys it! I hope maybe you can find some people to do it with – It does make it seem more “school-like” I think than just having Mommy teaching. Maybe ask around your local blogging community?But, Moms are the best teachers either way.