Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Tot School Goals for Baby Number 3

Tot School Color Themes

 It's time to start tot school with my third, and last baby. Goodness, that's hard for my heart to think about! She's almost 15 months and we could both benefit from a bit more structure to our week. Anyway, just like the boys, I am going to start Juniper off with Color Themes, with maybe a few weeks of other themes to match seasons or big brother's school work.

However, I thought I should clarify that my goal is not at all for her to learn her colors. She already knows some and I have no worries about her learning the rest, even if we never did tot school. Instead, having a theme gives me a jumping off point for organization. It makes it easier to plan and include a variety of activities.

Instead, here are my goals:

  • Occupying the Baby! - Ok, so the first goal is very selfish because it is for me, not for her. Now that Archer is officially homeschooling, I need to keep Juniper busy. She likes to join in, sometimes a little too much (like by sitting on him while he's trying to work, coloring on his papers, etc. Having a weekly rotation will hopefully provide her with new distractions often enough to occupy her a little more so we don't have to rely on a good nap to get most of our work done.
  • Language Building - This is twofold. First, I plan to have new vocabulary cards out for her each week. These were a fantastic tool for teaching the boys new words and I hope they will be for her too. Even though she is nowhere near ready to match them on her own, modeling for her will help teacher her the idea of matching. Second, having new toys and puzzles out for her regularly will give us new things to talk about to build vocabulary.
  • Reading - After teaching both my boys to read as babies and seeing the worlds of stories and interests it opened up for them, I cannot imagine not teaching Juniper to read also. She was a little slower to be interested in it, so will likely progress slower, but there is no set timeline. I plan to go at her pace and follow her interests. We try to fill her world with words, although she's picky, so they may not be "tot school theme" related and that's perfectly fine.
  • Math - As with the boys, I am avoiding exposing Juniper to numerals as much as possible (which is sometimes a challenge with a kid like Archer who LOVES shows with numbers). I hope to expose her to concepts like sorting, ordering and matching. She's too young to do any of that on her own yet, but through modeling she'll learn and be able to do a lot more fun learning activities with them later.
  • Fine Motor - Obviously, she's at the prime fine motor development age. She really seems to like this type of play, so I'm hoping to try to provide new activities and challenges for her.
  • Gross Motor -Juniper is my most physically adventurous child, so I want to make a conscious effort to provide gross motor opportunities for her. A lot of it will likely happen naturally as she tries to keep up with her big brothers (or get to their things).
  • Sensory Play - Sensory play is something I have to remember to include in the winter, but I definitely want to make sure I provide exposure to a variety of textures and materials. It is great for fine motor and involves learning some physics with dumping, pouring, etc.

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