If you’re wondering where “Tot School” got its name, check out 1plus1plus1equals1’s awesome resources!
- Begin to learn names of capital letters
- Readiness skills: holding crayon, pencil, children’s scissors
- Oral counting and recognition of numbers 1-10
See my Early Literacy Stages here.
See my posts on tot school supplies and workbooks.
Follow your child’s lead!
- Read the same book at least once a day for week and do a short activity based on the book (for example, read Blueberries for Sal and eat blueberries every day, make a bear craft, etc.). See Before Five in a Row.
- Do a deliberate play activity every day. Think open-ended toys and Montessori materials. Have fun with Tot Trays, Sensory bins, or Busy bags. (See more on this below.)
- Try some easy coloring and painting crafts. We have supplies from Abeka – Nursery Arts and Crafts, Arts and Crafts with Button Bear 2s.
- Additionally, you can add some seasonal or holiday (free) printable activities from the following sites:
2 Teaching Mommies, and
- **At 2 1/2 or when developmentally ready: 1plus1plus1equals1 — Tot School ABCs printables (one letter per week with a couple activities a day, according to your child’s interest and skill level in addition to the above).
Notes on Tot School:
- Having many (board) books around for your child to read is extremely beneficial. Literacy starts on day one! The library is also a useful resource; sometimes children love to repeat books over and over, but parents want to look at something new from time to time! (This is why I go to garage sales so often — I pick up about 10 books for $2-3 and have new books for both of us.)
- Read to your child morning, nap, and night.
- Begin introducing paper books, with supervision.
- Television is not beneficial, even so-called “learning programs.” Our son doesn’t watch any programs, but the occasional football or news, (but I turn off the commercials!) I have heard wonderful things about LeapFrog: Letter Factory, so that may be his first show.
- Knowing how to read is not necessarily the goal. Your child is learning without the use of workbooks, drilling, flash cards, and “Your Child Can Read” hype. Your child only has a few precious years of solely learning through play, and that should be the focus. Supplementing play with books and music is always a fun idea — as Five in a Row demonstrates. When your child seems excited about letters, then it may be time to begin a letter recognition program such as Tot School ABCs from 1plus1plus1equals1.
- The Abeka craft books listed here are for learning colors, coloring, and small crafts (i.e. glue the cotton balls on the rabbit, etc.) If your child isn’t interested, put them away, and try again in a month.
- More recently, I have started doing crafts according to a seasonal theme. Many free printables are available online from very talented and generous mamas. My favorite sites are linked above. There are so many to choose from, both for seasonal themes as well as others (for example, bugs, dinosaurs, ladybugs, etc), so choose according to your child’s interests!
- I go to a Mom’s Group/Bible Study twice a week where my son plays with other children. He loves seeing his friends and this increases socialization.
Deliberate Play Time:
- Tot Trays: We have begun having a shelf of in our kitchen. I make six trays per week and set them up on a low kitchen shelf. I choose these, as they relate to sensory, practical life, language, or mathematics work (i.e. Montessori principles), and I make sure to play these specific activities with him throughout each week.
- I have Sensory bins as another form of structured play.
- I am also adding Busy bags, this is a fancy name for meaningful and fun mini-activities, to our tactile exploration. Read more about them at Walking by the Way.
Tot School ABCs:
- **When ready to do Tot School ABCs printables — take these one letter per week. The focus is on familiarization with the letters. I want to work slowly with my children in learning the alphabet. I want to introduce letters so they are not intimidating. I believe Carisa at 1+1+1=1 has made fantastic printables to introduce letters to her child. They include fun activities around the letter, without having your child actually write the letter. I think this is absolutely wonderful. I plan on doing this curriculum for 26 weeks, when my son shows interest. This may hold back your Preschool (3 years) schedule for a couple months, according to each child’s needs. Printing the letters (starting with upper case) will come at 3 years-ish. Using printables as desired, one or two per day. Include shape, color, and/or math activities each day.
- If your child is especially interested in reading, these wonderful letter books from The Measured Mom will help familiarize them with the uppercase letters!