Tot School – November – December
- Reptiles Unit *Turtles / Lizards / Snakes
- Amphibians Unit *Frogs / Toads / Salamanders
- The Calendar (Intro to History)
Lily Pad Life – Sensory Bin
Plastic frogs, water, rocks, and lily pads (from Dollar Tree foam sheets)
“On the safety of the lily pad, a frog can relax or catch flies without fear of predation.” –The Life of a Lily Pad | Britannica Blog
Introducing “Before, next, first, second, last” and expressing sequences of time.
Christmas Around the World
One of the better books I have seen for toddlers on the topic is Jingle Bells by Iza Trapani. It was perfect for our toddler – beautiful full-page illustrations and it got many key concepts across without being too wordy.
“Join children on a Christmas sleigh ride around the world as they discover traditions from Mexico, Sweden, the Philippines, Poland, Italy, Kenya, and the United States. Best-selling author/illustrator Iza Trapani once again extends a classic song
to include new fun-filled adventures.”
There are so many ways we incorporate music into our everyday, so this almost doesn’t need to be a unit. But…why not?
Click any image above to see more!
One shelf on our home which is inaccessible (thus irresistible) to our toddler is the library books shelf. When he finds a book he likes, he will often go to the shelf and ask for it by name (or author, in some cases. Ahem, Eric Carle).
Art by Patrick McDonnell is one of those books. The main character, a young boy named Art, explores his Art-istic endeavors. In the end, his Mama posts his creations on the fridge at home. Because Mama loves Art.
Jingle bells / Trapani, Iza.
The Tadpole and the Frog / Knobler, Susan.
Turtle, Turtle Watch Out! / Pulley Sayre, April.
One Tiny Turtle / Davies, Nicola.
A Pet Named Sneaker / Heilbroner, Joan.
The Spirit of Christmas / Tillman, Nancy.
Fa la la / Patricelli, Leslie.
Llama llama jingle bells / Dewdney, Anna.
Christmas pop-up peekaboo! / Sirett, Dawn.
The Importance of Being Little: What Young Children Really Need from Grownups / Christakis, Erika
This book is an eye-opening collection of examples and theories from a long time preschool educator who has seen many of the approaches in action (Montessori, Waldorf, etc.) in both homeschooling and public schooling environments.
She uses her psychology background to explain why letting a child explore and play is a more successful approach in the early years, and how Common Core standards are increasingly being ‘pushed down’ to preschool and kindergarten levels.
It also touches on how we as parents look to the child’s pedagogical environment for concrete examples of what a child has learned as proof of their endeavors (such as that cliche Thanksgiving hand print turkey exemplifying their class involvement and cooperation, when they could really be learning much more by visiting a turkey farm for example).
The book also talks about how teachers today are held to such high standards, and that child education products and curriculum must still be looked at with a discerning eye toward big business influences: learning resources being peddled to educators and S.T.E.M. stamps on toys that parents are guilt-tripped into buying, in hopes for pushing letters, shapes and other concepts at parents to get them “kindergarten ready”. There is also a prevalence of box kits which include materials and schedules for ‘an entire curriculum’ when much of the learning should be paced by the child and open to flexibility.
While I love my hand print turkeys and other arts and crafts activities, it is a good reminder to keep some room available in the curriculum to provide room for spontaneity.
It’s also a great reminder to be patient with yourself as an educator!
Pin these images to your own Pinterest board – or follow our November – December board for all these ideas in one spot!