## Sunday, February 12, 2012

### Tot School - Week in Review

L and E are 30 months old.

I wanted to recap some of the random activities we did this week that don't really belong in their own blog post.  This week was a good combination of structured activities and free play, as I tried out some new preschool curriculum ideas.

It was our first week of RightStart Math, Level A, lessons 1-4.  We did a lot of grouping, sorting, and playing with adding and subtracting quantities (up to five).  I tried to incorporate these skills into the various games we were playing.  The best part was when I was working on my computer and the girls were playing on their own and I heard L say to E: "If I have three apples, and Mommy takes one away, how many apples do I have? Two!"  Here are some pictures of the girls building geometric shapes from stir-sticks and using them to tally:

I showed them how to place the sticks to indicate a group of five, and both girls got the concept that they don't have to count them to know that there are five sticks in the group - just like they can show 5 fingers on their hand without counting, and the row of blue beads on the abacus is also five.  Yes, I introduced the AL Abacus (special abacus for learning with the RightStart program).  L got the concept right away that it represents numbers, while E was a bit more creative and used it to make letters and patterns.  I'm personally really excited about the abacus because I've always wanted to learn how to use one.  I'm hoping that if the girls become really good at arithmetic, it will come so naturally to them that they won't make stupid calculation errors once they get to more advanced mathematical concepts.

We also started KinderBach this week.  It is a beginning music program that teaches young children basics like rhythm and pitch, and some early piano skills.  The girls really love it, and I'm glad they get to do something musical while we're on a break from Kindermusik classes (I'm keeping the family home this winter until Baby H gets a bit older).  Here are all three kids (I tried to get a picture of them dancing, but it didn't work out):

Other physical activities we've been doing include jumping over brooms and mops.  I chant 'E be nimble, E be quick, E jump over the broomstick', and then she jumps over.  We even propped a broom up on cups for an extra challenge:

Then the girls decided to walk on the cups like stilts - they said they were ice-skating:

They constantly experiment with new ways to move their bodies:
Stacking is popular around here too:
We played some games.  L loves taking turns and being the game organizer (the one who hands out the cards, enforces whose turn it is, etc..).  And E is finally taking an interest in playing card and board games with us - she used to always do her own thing, but recently she's been cooperating a lot more.
Of course, there is a lot of reading at our house:
.. and a lot of playing with different art mediums too:

We definitely found a good daily rhythm this week and really had an enjoyable time.

Check out the Tot School link below to see what other tots are learning this week: