"The best classroom and the richest cupboard is roofed only by the sky"

in #homeschooling4 years ago

I wholeheartedly agree with Margaret McMillan that "the best classroom and the richest cupboard is roofed only by the sky".

If we were still in England, M would be starting preschool in September. In my career as a teacher I have worked with so many amazing and inspirational preschools. I am a little sad that America does not value early education in the same way that Europe does. We have looked at a few preschools here in Tucson, but nowhere so far has offered the breadth of experiences and play/child led learning that I would love to see.

So I decided to adapt our garden into an outdoor play and learning environment that can be the basis of much child led enquiry and learning. We have a small covered space to use that is about 10 feet by 40 feet, and then I plan to use the rest of the yard for closely monitored activities (as here in Arizona we get scorpions, tarantulas and snakes!) The covered porch area is what I have been working on this week.

I am quite pleased with my first attempt. We have a few different areas and zones that will work for M and her younger brother to play and explore.

We have a water table that can also be used for sensory activities. I have a few different types of toys that I can put in (ones for filling/measuring, ones for floating/sinking, letters, animals etc).

We have some space for gross motor activities like obstacle courses, wheeled toys and a slide.

Here is our easel. One side has a chalkboard and I have sidewalk chalks (we also use them on the floor). The other side is a magnetic whiteboard.

Today we got a basket of balls out. They are Os favourite and he loves to throw and chase after them.

We have a little playdough table for fine motor activities and sensory activities. We can also do crafts here (Ms favourite). I want to make a few different playdough mats to encourage different areas of learning.

Next week we are going to work on a little garden. We bought soil and M and I chose some seeds from our seed library. I love the enthusiasm that they have for learning.

I am open to ideas and suggestions :) I will be aiming to do a weekly #preschoolroundup and would love to see others do the same and share ideas. Feel free to drop a link to your #preschoolroundup or #learningoftheweek below

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This is cool! I don’t have kids just yet, but I am disheartened by the lack of learning locations for the very young out there as well. Parents are the best teachers anyway. 😉
Great post!

Me too. I have looked at so many websites for preschools here and I was so sad at how regimented and prescriptive learning seems to be. No taking into account the children or their interests, just sit and listen while I teach you. When I was teaching in England, it was all about inspiring curiousity, active learning and using the children's interests to springboard into learning (and the outcomes were higher than I have seen here in Tucson).

I like this preschoolroundup idea! I will participate when I get a chance later this week.

Looks like you have a fun setup. When my son was in preschool we had a similar setup. When he was 3 we did some Montessori type stuff that he basically thought was play. Now we are officially starting homeschooling, but I will be continuing the preschool with my toddler daughter.

That would be awesome, I really enjoy reading about other people's homeschool adventures on steemit. It is great to hear you are in a similar place too. I will look forward to reading about what you have been upto. Did you buy a curriculum or are you making your own?

I like following other people's homeschooling styles too. It always gives some inspiration.

We lean toward a classical approach (I say "lean" because I think every homeschool teacher caters to their child's interests to a certain degree), so I am following a classical basic guideline. That said, I use a lot of texts and materials I pick up at yard sales and the thrift store. I have a bookcase full of materials waiting for my son to be old enough to use. It is unbelievable the amount of unique, fun books that are out there - on every subject. We picked up a book on the water cycle from an ex-teacher at a yard sale. It had me make a cardboard robot that sends the questions we are trying to answer through its little slot on its face. Then from that question we have a little hands-on project to help us figure out the answer. So fun. My son is only kindergarten age, so we are looking for lots of playful stuff still. So, my long-winded answer to your question: we make our own curriculum :)

That sounds so fun. I actually used to teach the equivalent of Kindergarten but in England, so if you ever want to bounce ideas around I would love to.

Thanks! I'll be sure to let you know if I have any questions.

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