So how do you start a neighborhood preschool? I started by finding a group of friends that all had pre-school age children. We all met to decide how we wanted to organize our preschool, once in Aug and again in January to decide for a semester at a time. We decided that if you were teaching, that the preschool would be at your home. We decided how many times a week to meet, we chose two, Tuesdays and Thursdays. We chose 9:30-11:30 a.m. for dropping off and picking up the kids, but to be honest, we never picked up at 11:30, we showed up to pick up our children, but always got busy talking, and the adult socializing for each of us became a treasure.
Deciding what to teach was pretty simple. We chose what the children would need to know when they started kindergarten. Each week we would go over the letter for the week. We went in order A-Z, except V, there are very few “V” words outside of Valentine, so we always had the letter “V” the week of Valentines, and that teacher always did a party too. Each week we would focus on our letter. We would have most activities start with that letter.
We would all have the same opening. The kids would sit in a circle wearing their name tag. The name tag was made out of felt and they were all in different colors and shapes. That way when we would talk about the color red, we would find who had on the red name tag, and when we would talk about a circle, we would find the name tag that was a circle. We would estimate something. I liked estimating little pieces of something like cereal or M&M’s. There would be a small dish with the candy in it and everyone would guess how many, then we would all count them together. Then everyone would eat one piece and we would guess again until everything was eaten. We would go over a calendar and sing the days of the week and months of the year songs. We would add the next numbers to our calendar and count all the numbers then add one more new one. We would do finger plays to learn our new letter, or introduce it in any other way we wanted. We would always read books, and do active learning where the children would find a letter taped around the room, or find a shape on a window.
I loved doing the “food experiences”. That sounded like the worst activity when I started teaching preschool, but ended up being my favorite. If we were making sugar cookies and it called for 2 cups of flour, I would use 1/4 cup so everyone would get a turn scooping flour and putting it in the bowl. The kids were always very attentive, and loved counting all the ingredients as they were added to our project. We would also go on fieldtrips. I loved the fire station. The Moms would be welcome to come, and most of the time everyone did. They would learn about a safe place outside to go to meet their family in a fire. We would practice it on our next preschool day, and the children remembered VERY well. They would learn to call 911 in an emergency, and what an emergency was. They would learn their phone numbers, and parents names. Then the next week it was my turn to teach I would review all the safety stuff from before so they would remember it. It always made me feel secure knowing all our children were being taught important information, character building concepts, and their letters. Teaching was fun and very relaxed because if we needed to adjust a day, we would. It was fun to teach my friend’s kids, and have special preschool memories with my children too. We always kept it fun! Because when they’re laughing, they’re learning, so always Teach With Giggles. Written by Raeann Hansen 2019