Ever so often I’m asked what can be done with pre schooler at home- to keep him/ her engaged, learning and growing. And so very often I’m compelled to say – NOTHING, REALLY!
A child as young as 2 years who is absorbing everything from his/ her environment, leaning from observation, mimicking his/ her surroundings needs very less “engagement” ; what he or she will learn from attention that a caregiver pays And the way he/ she is communicated with, matters more than anything else.
You may be offering a shelf of activities, or trays to entice him, a fancy set up or a hard earned DIY, what really matters is how you INVOLVE YOURSELF WITH THE CHILD.
Here you may find a list of checkpoints (or goals, if you may) that you could work on with your child ; so that by the age of 4 years, your child is ready for the next set of (age appropriate) checkpoints
Having said this please remember this very important point that Magda Gerber has made :
What are the checkpoints to keep in mind with a Pre Schooler
For a child aged between 2 years and 4 years, one may keep in mind these points
I’ve listed here resources from around the web to put together a week long (or month long- depending how deep you would like to dive into this topic) unit study on peacemakers of the world; starting with definitions and children’s interpretations of peace, art and song stimulation to understand peace and then moving on to looking through the life and works of peacemakers around the world.
The focus then shifts to India, and we pick the life and work of Mahatma Gandhi to study deeper, while touching upon the history and Geography of British India and the Freedom Struggle (suited best to beginners, ages 6 years and up)
Think Alternate recommends these 9 books to complement bird study for ages 4 to 10 years. Birds in your backyard journalling curriculum is available to purchase for 4 to 6 years olds (beginner module) here : Birds in your backyard and for 6 to 10 year olds (advanced module) here : Birds in your Backyard (advanced)
Why start children on journaling ? Have you had this lingering question ? Let’s delve a little into the whys and how’s of it all.
1. Before a child can speak, he sees and gestures what he wants. The mind learns to communicate before he can express in words. And often that is frustrating. Similarly, children learn to scribble, draw, perceive colours before they can fully form sentences. If you offer an opportunity and environment to express through art and creative expression, you offer an outlet for the frustration and negativity of not being able to communicate in words.
2. Creative expression is a direct route to mindfulness. Keep colours, paper, drawing material accessible at all times. Roll out paper on the walls and floors. Allow free expression for a child and see the depth of ideas that come through. And while the ideas are flowing, the mind is on a self-declutter mode, allowing space for peace and stability.
3. A child will learn to read and write, in his or her own time. But why should the focus shift to these skills while what the developmental state of a child’s mind is that of asking questions and exploring ideas? Why push a child to fit letters in lines and colours within borders when these are simply man- proposed ideas to fit all children into one box?
That’s why we journal. We set the child’s mind on a path that open doors to his mind’s creative world. We offer him the freedom to pick a sheet of paper and draw/ write / stick pictures and tell stories, ask questions and try to make logical connections. We do not restrict learning to texts and worksheets, but we allow for open ended expression through the medium of journals. Journals are and can be a powerhouse of ideas.
You can start today, with a child as young as 2 yo. Let them scribble, work their pencil grip, make circular motion. Vertical spaces for artwork will allow them to cross the midline of their body and develop hand eye coordination. They will find patterns where your eyes have been lost to the bigger picture. They will amaze you with their innate understanding of connections and structure.
Our best seller Starting Journaling with children is now available in our web store here and is based on the popular story “Goldilocks and the Three bears”
Children as young as 2 years old may start with this curriculum, with many many readings of this favourite book as a bedtime read or over a cosy afternoon. After all, children are made readers in the laps of their parents!
Linking here a few snippets of this story based curriculum for beginners and the 21st century skills we hope to introduce to children, early on
We’ve also included a bear study module ; a mini version of it that will prompt further questions and explorations of the diversity of India. Couple this with story readings of the Jungle Book or Winnie the Pooh and discuss what the bears look like, how they behave and what they eat. Interconnected ness is the key. And often, the child will lead you to see these connections where you may have missed them.
Mathematic and language related open ended activities are added as accessories so that children can lead the way to building their own puzzles, games and stories. The curriculum also comes with A – Z nature prompt cards that you may choose to convert into a poster, bunting, flash cards or stack of cards for nature walks and explorations. The idea is to prompt discussions and lead to observing the world around you.