Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Our Autumn Season: A Bilingual Preschool Curriculum Guide for Home

I created this bilingual Waldorf-inspired preschool curriculum to use with my son this Fall.  I wanted an easy way to implement a Waldorf way of life and create a more predictable schedule for us. This guide is recommended for ages 2-4, but can be adapted for other ages and levels. I like to keep things simple and belief wholeheartedly that children learn best by doing. That and our families love of books is what inspired this curriculum! I will also be including Montessori manipulatives in our play area for Liam to play with during free play. I hope that you will enjoy exploring the season of Autumn with us! 

Don't forget to check out my Pinterest board here for links to the books, art activities and recipes to use along with the curriculum! 

Click here to download Our Autumn Season and it's accompanying weekly planning sheet.

How to use Our Autumn Season-
This is a 3 month program (September to November) divided into 2 week segments. Each 2 weeks includes 2 books, a song, a rhyme, a recipe, a listening story, a field trip and an art activity.  It is up to you to decide how you would like to schedule each activity. You can take on everything in one week and then review the next week or break things up over the course of the 2 weeks.  The weeks are somewhat interchangeable, so feel free to move around activities or week themes as you see fit. Also, most of the stories, books and rhymes are in Spanish. This program is bilingual, but Spanish is the minority language in our country, therefore, my main focus with my son is to speak and read in Spanish!  

For my family our daily rhythm will include a circle time where I will introduce each book, rhyme and song. Our circle time will also include Yoga to get our bodies moving! We will be taking a nature walk at least once a week and collecting things for our nature table. This table will consist of seasonal items we find on our walks. Branches, leaves, acorns, etc. I also encourage you to make the songs and rhymes part of your day.  Sing and recite them while you’re playing, cooking or taking a bath. Incorporate them into your daily life!

Remember that the books I have suggested can easily be replaced by a similar book from the library or your own home library.  Most of the books in this curriculum can be found on Amazon.com, as well. If there are activities that you feel are more age appropriate or are more suitable for the area that you live in feel free to swap those out too!

This program is inspired by Waldorf methodology. Nature, the seasons and festivals play a huge role in the Waldorf methodology; that is why this curriculum is seasonally based.  A Waldorf education in the early years puts most of the emphasis on imaginative play with simple toys. I suggest wooden toys that a child can manipulate his/herself. The early years are seen as a time of exploration and for a child to learn through play.  Learning is also seen as inseparable from daily life where young children learn by example. The recipes and trips included here are a catalyst for learning by example and incorporating your child into your everyday activities.

 I hope that this guide will help you on your road to implementing a more child involved way of life! Feel free to contact me with any questions or if you notice any errors at rivasandcompany {at} gmail dot com! 

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

3 Weeks Down: Surgery, Preschool and homeschooling.

We have reached the 3 weeks mark! We are almost to a month and I have to say that I feel like time is clipping along quite nicely. I'm hoping it stays that way!

My awesome new car decal!

My husband received his first care package along with some cards and stuff that my parents mailed him! He loved the package and said he's enjoying the snacks!

Our map showing where Daddy visits!

This past week I had to have a spinal block done to try and alleviate my sciatica. I have Lumbar Spinal Stenosis and my sciatica has been constant for about a month now. The block still has not kicked in, so I've been trying to take it easy.  If I can't get relief from the block then the doctor is talking about doing surgery! I'm trying to avoid that at all costs! Surgery is definitely not something I was planning on this deployment!

During this down time I've had a chance to think about Liam turning two! It's only 3 months away!  My husband and I were thinking about sending him to Preschool when he hit the 2 year mark, but our budget is not at the point where we could easily do that this year.  So, after I started thinking about it, it hit me! Why not just have Preschool at home with him? I mean my philosophy is mostly made up of the belief that children learn through doing and playing! Liam gets lots of interaction with other kids thanks to play dates, my moms' group and church, so I wasn't worried about that.It's not like preschool is foreign to me...during college and right after I graduated I taught preschool. I even created and taught a Spanish program for preschoolers at the school I was at.

My dapper almost 2 year old!

Now to decide on a teaching method!  I learned all about them in college, but it has been a while. Off I went to the internet to do some research.  If we were going to send Liam to preschool the Montessori schools in the area are on the top of my list. So, I started reading up on Maria Montessori and also looking at comparisons of preschool programs. That's when I stumbled upon the Steiner Method, also known as a Waldorf Education. I really liked the idea behind it. It wasn't really child centered, but more of a child involved way of life! I felt like it went right along with my ideals. There are aspects of both Montessori and Waldorf education that I love. I knew for sure that I was not going to do strictly one or the other...more like a little of both.  I then started looking for a curriculum, but just could not find one that was exactly what I wanted and not a lot of money.

After thinking about it long and hard I decided to write my own! I knew that the basis for what I want to teach Liam was going to be everyday life and lots of free play! I also loved that a Waldorf education is based on the seasons and festivals. Keeping those things in mind and our love of books I came up with a simple Waldorf Inspired preschool learning guide! 

I am so excited to share it with you all in my next post. It still needs a bit of tweaking and I'm trying to create a Pinterest board to go along with it. That way all the resources are in one place, if you choose to follow along! We'll be starting "Preschool" the second week of September after we return from a trip home. 

If you would like to learn more about the Montessori method and the Waldorf method check out Global Mama's series Hunting For A Preschool! She gives an excellent break down of the methods and their critiques. Who knows maybe you'd prefer the Reggio Emilia method or the Charlotte Mason approach!  

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

2 weeks down: Care Package #1, International calling and France!!!

We hit 2 weeks down on Sunday! Woohoo!

Ever since my husband left I feel like all I've done is go from one doctor's appointment to another! Some days there were 2 in a row! After today I will be down to just a couple this month! Shew! Today I had an outpatient spinal block to try and calm my sciatica and hold off on back surgery. It went well and I'm praying it will last until my sailor returns! Surgery while he's gone is not something I look forward too! Lol 

Speaking of my sailor! We got to Skype with him today while he was in FRANCE! His ship is in port for a little bit before heading back out to sea. He found free wifi in town and we got to Skype. The connection was poor, but I loved getting to hear his voice and see his blurry face!!! 

This deployment my husband invested in an international SIM Card for his cellphone. It is pre-paid and he can add minutes as needed. It has already paid for itself! My husband was able to use it on the ship when they pulled in. The convenience of using his own phone is so helpful! He doesn't have to wait in line at a phone bank or wait to Skype in order to contact us. I absolutely love it!  

The company we bought ours through is Telestial. My husband picked the Passport SIM Card. Keep in mind that your phone has to be unlocked and that texts, pictures and data cost extra. You can also buy an unlocked phone and SIM card on the Telestial site. I highly recommend this for deployments! It is cheaper than the international plans through cellphone providers and so convenient! 

Oh and I almost forgot we got our first care package sent out! I sent a smaller one this time with not a whole lot in it. The main reason for that is that he stocked up on stuff before he left and has only been gone a short time. The space on the ship is limited when it comes to storage. I'm sure later on he will be making requests for things he's ran out of! So, here is our first care package....snacks, k-cups, PC Gamer magazine, a laundry bag (that he forgot), a USB stick with pics and videos on it, cold medicine and a glasses cleaning cloth! I also added a jewelry box with three pennies I found on the ground the day he had to report to the ship. I'm not superstitious or anything, but I thought it would be cute to send them to him for good luck. ;) I also included a little baggy full of sauces (BBQ, Soy, Honey mustard) for him to liven up the bland ship food and a tub of Chick-fil-A Sauce too!

As far as how I decorated my box goes... I just used Chevron duck tape and scrapbook paper for the flaps. The stickers are scrapbook stickers, as well! I bought a big book of different colors of scrapbook paper to use to decorate my care packages this deployment. I just tape it on and then add decorations. Super simple! My husband informed me that the boxes just get trashed, so I don't go too overboard and I make sure pictures are easy to remove, so he can keep those and trash the rest. I hope that helps! :)

I hope the rest of our days, weeks, months pass as quickly as these last two! Until next time!! 

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