Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tot School: Our school-mat schedule

When I first started reading tot-school blogs, I was always interested in hearing about the mechanics of how the process worked, especially with very little babies (Basbusa isn't quite one and a half yet). So, in case anyone else is wondering the same thing, here is how we're going about tot-school at the moment.

While I'm still working full-time, Basbusa and I usually have tot school in the evenings, right after dinner but before she starts getting sleepy. (We don't do it every day - maybe three times a week, depending on busy-ness and sleepiness?)

Our apartment is a one-bedroom, so we don't have anything remotely like a dedicated schoolroom, or even a school area. What we do have is a big plastic mat, and an Arabic alphabet poster on the wall of the bedroom, at toddler-height. So when it's time for school, we spread the mat on the floor beside the poster, and that's our school area. I'm hoping that having a defined space will both signal to Basbusa that we're about to start activities, and help to confine the mess when we're using something that spills or sticks or stains. Basbusa can get up and wander off whenever she likes, but the materials we're using stay on the mat. I think it's working so far: yesterday, I when I said, "Hey, want to go do some school?", Basbusa said "School! School!" and ran to get the mat out from under the dresser.

I've seen lots of blogs where the week's activities are all laid out on a special shelf, and the tot picks which one to play with. I loved the idea, so I tried something similar at first, but I think maybe Basbusa's too little for so much self-guidance? Having many options resulted in much excitement, but only a few seconds spent with any one thing. So now, I pick two activities ahead of time, and offer them to her one at a time. (Hmmmm..... in other words, self-guidance resulted in choices that weren't what I had in mind, which is probably the whole point of self-guidance.... Hmmmm.... maybe I'll try it again once we get into a school-time routine....)

In terms of length, once she loses interest in the first activity - after thirty seconds or after fifteen minutes - I bring out the second. Once she's done with that one, then we're finished with school for the day. Or, once she hears Baba doing something interesting in the kitchen and scampers off to investigate. Or if I've timed things too close to bedtime, and she starts fussing and yawning in the middle of it. So far, our "tot school" sessions have ranged from about ten minutes to about 40, if I happen to pick two things she loves and the timing is right.

I'm very interested to hear what other moms are doing (or have done) with their under-twos in terms of set-up and timing?

No comments:

Post a Comment