About the curriculum:
A Montessori Inspired- Manipulative Rich – Literature Based -Hand’s on Preschool Curriculum adaptable for ages 2-5 (can even be adapted to 6 or 7 years old depending on level and which printables you choose).
This curriculum is derived of theme based unit studies, with a core story book and several other recommended texts.
If you are not familiar with Montessori at all, I highly recommend the book Montessori at Home, it can be purchased from the website for $8.95 or from Montessori Print Shop with a variety of printable materials for $24.95. It can be used in conjunction with the activity suggestions provided in this curriculum.
How to use this curriculum:
Each theme has a long list of suggested hands on activities. It is my suggestion that you pick between 5-10 activities to accomplish each week (based on the age and attention span of your child). Set up each activity at the beginning of the week in either a workbox or tot tray format. Your child may not accomplish every activity every week, which is OKAY. I suggest working on the activities for shorts amount of time each day. Lessons should be child lead, teacher guided.
2 years old – 15-20min a day (1 or 2 trays a day)
3 years old – 25-30 min a day (2 or 3 trays a day)
4 years old – 35-40 min a day (4 or 5 trays a day)
5 years old – 45 – 60 min a day (5 or more trays a day)
If your child is engaged and enjoying the activities, feel free to go longer, however you do not want to force them, follow their lead and interest. Learning can take place all day long in a variety of ways.
Most of the activities are adaptable for a variety of ages; you can change the difficulty of the task in a variety of ways. You want your child to be challenged, but not discouraged.
Manipulatives are a KEY part of this curriculum. Manipulatives are 3 dimensional objects. Whenever possible (even when using printable materials) substitute in 3D objects. Items purchased for this curriculum can be used year after year (since this curriculum is adaptable for multi-ages, you can repeat it each year with different activities).
Melissa and Doug Pattern Blocks or Beginner Pattern Blocks
Life Cycle Figures
Bingo Dauber Markers
Small round magnets
ABC Stamps or magnet tiles
Laminator – The laminator that I use has been discontinued, but I recommend a hot laminator that is atleast 12” across (for file folders!). Check reviews on Amazon or other places. This one looks like a good price and good reviews. I use the generic 12x18 and 8.5x11 sheets with my laminator, and they work fine!
Dollar Store Finds:
Tweezers, Tongs, Spoons, Small baskets and/or bowl and/or cups, Small glass rocks, themed erasers (for counting and sorting), pom poms, pipe cleaners, Sectioned trays, metal Cookie sheet
Suggestions for the Letter Trays/Bins:
Sand Paper Letters
Make an ABC Collection
Handwriting without Tears items (I highly recommend this curriculum!)
ABC lacing letters
Alphabet Soup Sorters
LeapFrog Letter Factory Phonics
Touch and Feel Flash Cards
Preschool Alphabet A-Z
Playdough Mats (and other ABC specific printables for FREE)
Wikki Sticks Alpha Cards
Starfall (or go to starfall.com)
Handwriting without tears
Oriental Trading:Oriental Trading is a GREAT source of inexpensive manipulative/themed items! Scrapbooking materials make great manipulatives, as well as others things I have listed here. After season sales are a great time to stock up, and you get FREE shipping on orders of $49 or more (sometimes other sales are active as well).
Foam Stamps (various themes) and large stamp pads
Trays, plastic tweezers
Themed erasers (fruits, apples, bunny feet)
Shaped Beads (penguins, acorns)
Wicker Bird nests
Montessori Print Shop Cards and Suggested Books listed in each lesson. I recommend purchasing The Toddler Bundle, as it is used A LOT.
You do not necessarily need the EXACT ITEMS I have linked here, in many cases I have similar (not exact), but something along the same lines is good. Also there is a great list of recommended materials in the Montessori At Home book (linked previously in this post).
**Hints for getting items at the best prices: Keep a list of themes you will cover over the year and check clearance aisles and dollar bins for items that could be used. A lot of what you’ll need can be found at Dollar Stores and dollar bins.
Note: I keep all our ‘school’ stuff separate from the everyday play toys. It makes school more exciting when they see ‘new’ stuff that they don’t get to play with every day! The few things I’ve let them use outside of school time (especially the toobs) are ALL GONE! lol
I’ve provided links to themed printables from a variety of blogs. Look at the activities they provide, choose a few of them based on the skill level of your child to incorporate in your weekly activities. Remember; whenever possible substitute 3 dimensional items as manipulatives for the activities. I recommend the write around the room, and/or the read-build-write activities for older children. There are usually a few great math activities too. Another great site for older kids with themed printables is EnchantedLearning.com, there is a small yearly fee to use it.
Plan ahead to allow yourself time to collect the needed materials, so give yourself at least a week (more if you need to order items). Most months the activities can carry over into each week, as the main theme is the same, just the book and underlying theme are different. Use a planning sheet to pick which activities you would like to do for that week, and list what materials you will need to purchase and/or prepare (ie print, cut, and laminate). A great weekly planner is available for free at thehomeschoolmom.com
I use these planning sheets each week and I use a milk crate with hanging folders to organize the materials I have printed off.
Manipulatives -The plastic drawer towers are great for storing the wide variety of manipulatives that are collected over time, I used spray adhesive and scrapbook paper to cover the inside fronts of the drawers and make them more eye appealing. I found several of these at yard sales for very reasonable prices (some even free!).
As mentioned in previous posts, I use milk crates with hanging folders to organize printables by week, and I use manila envelopes in a bin to organize past themes (so they are easily found again for future use).
For stamps and magnet tiles I use fishing tackle boxes
Other containers that prove useful are plastic shoeboxes, old plastic containers (like wipes, cool-whip, butter, etc…).
Warning – some of the activities use items that could pose as choking hazards, please do not leave small children (particularly under age 3) unsupervised with these activities
I am providing this curriculum FREE TO YOU, I do ask in return that whenever possible you use the links I provide to purchase any materials you need. By doing so, I receive a small portion of all sales, which helps to fund my blog and my homeschool and allows me to provide materials such as this to you! You are not required to buy anything for this curriculum, but to get the most out of it some items will need to be purchased.
If you like this curriculum please spread the word! You can find all previous posts in regards to this curriculum HERE. I plan to have it available as a PDF some time soon, and more units will be forth coming!
Don’t hesitate to contact me via blog comment, email, facebook, or other means (though those 3 are the most reliable).
Units already posted: