Let Them Be Little: Preschool the Charlotte Mason Way

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let them be little printed curriculum
“To form in his child right habits of thinking and behaving is a parent’s chief duty… To nourish a child daily with loving, right, and noble ideas we believe to be the parent’s next duty.” Charlotte Mason, Vol. 2, p. 228
"In this time of extraordinary pressure, educational and social, perhaps a mother’s first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it spent for the most part out in the fresh air." Charlotte Mason, Vol. 1, p. 4

Our Charlotte Mason Preschool Experience

When I first read Charlotte Mason I found myself inspired and encouraged but simultaneously overwhelmed-- especially when she talked about the early years of childhood. Her ideals are lofty and beautiful, but when I looked at my little sticky-fingered preschooler spilling out a basket of toys for the second time in an hour I just didn't know how to reconcile the two.
I knew that my child needed this time to be little! They only have one childhood--one. One chance to play, imagine, create and explore without the pressure of formal academics. 
I knew I didn't want to put them into a formal preschool setting full of worksheets and cut and paste crafts. And I also wanted to have a Charlotte Mason approach to learning in our home. So, I created our four pillars of preschool in our home and planned our days accordingly.

Our Four Pillars Of Preschool

1. Time Outdoors: Spending time outside every day, if possible, for hands-on nature connection, gross motor skill development, promotion of physical health and a personal connection with nature. 

2. Forming Good Habits and Life Skills: Teaching my children habits (such as the habit of attention, truthfulness and obedience) and life skills that will help our days run smoother (such as getting dressed independently, putting dishes away, etc)

3. Reading Living Books: Being immersed in story and reading together every day from books that contain living, beautiful and worthy ideas, that teach character and that bond us to one another! 

4. Delaying Formal Academics: Delaying any formal lessons or academic work until they are older. Following their lead and interest, with out pressuring, filling their time with busy work or expecting a specific level of achievement. Incorporating play with and exploration of numbers and letters in a way that is true to a lifestyle of learning. 
I found that my children thrived with this approach! After four years of doing this preschool with my children at home, and seeing what a benefit it has been to our family, I have now written it into a curriculum to share with you: Introducing, Let Them Be Little Preschool!

What is "Let Them Be Little Preschool?"

Let Them Be Little Preschool is a 36 week Preschool curriculum that is built upon these four pillars and the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling. Each day you will complete 6 lifestyle-learning based activities with your child including: 

Circle Time: Going over today's date, weather and schedule/plan.

Life Skills/Chores: Practicing the week's life skill, allowing your child to grow in their independence and ability. There are two chores for each week so you can scale this activity according to your child's skill level. Throughout the curriculum they will be exposed to and learn 18-36 new life skills! 

Read Aloud: Reading a living picture book together (144 titles included!)

Numbers Activity: A play-based activity working on shapes, patterns, counting to 20+, matching, sorting, graphing, comparing and classifying as well as number value concepts.  Whether your preschooler is just beginning to understand number recognition or if they are already able to do basic addition, these activities will work for them! There is an extended version of each activity to choose from and your child will get ample time to practice the activity throughout the course of the curriculum. 

Letters Activity: Letter Play Activities allow your child to play with Language Arts concepts. They will be working on recognizing letters and phonetic sounds, early writing skills, and practicing storytelling concepts. And, just like the numbers portion, if your child is just beginning or interested in and ready for a challenge, these activities are able to be modified to meet their exact needs!

Then each day you'll complete one of the following Preschool Activities: 

Special Study: There are lots of things that are important to teach a child outside of academics but are easy to forget– for example, what they should do if they are lost! There are also nature based activities that are special for preschoolers to experience but may get forgotten in the shuffle of life–like carving a pumpkin, cloud watching, building a snowman or making a nature crown. These activities are the string on your finger–the proverbial “don’t forget”--of preschool activities and topics! I recommend getting outside very day (even for a few minutes) if possible! Most of these activities can be completed as you’re spending time outside.

Field Trip: Part of the beauty of the preschool age is seeing a child experience the world around them for the first time! Each week you will visit a location in your town or city and explore what the world has to offer your little one. Sprinkled in are park visits, library visits and play dates, but some weeks require planning ahead (don't worry, on the "month at a glance" page there is a Plan Ahead section so these activities don't sneak up on you)! 

Handcraft: Handcrafts are full of skills that children can build upon through the years. Your child will grow in their skills in paper arts, painting, clay, fiber arts, water coloring, baking and more! Each handcraft you will see at least four times in the curriculum in different iterations, in hopes that your child will grow in their love for and abilities in these handcrafts! 

Connection Activity: Taking time to connect with your preschooler is an important part of their education. It’s a great way for kids to feel seen, safe and loved and to make special memories together. These activities (such as building a fort together, playing dolls or dress-up, playing trains/cars, etc) will show up once a week in the curriculum and are for connection to one another. They also to expose your child to lots of kinds of play.

As A Parent of a Preschooler...

As a parent of a preschooler, I know you're busy! So this curriculum is also built on these values:

1. Low Prep--I want these activities to require more of the learner than they do of the parent. This means you will not be spending more time preparing the activities than you child will spend actually doing the activity! The child should be putting the most "effort" into the learning, not the parent. It's the child's education after all!

2. Inexpensive-- There's nothing worse than buying a curriculum than to find out you need to spend twice as much on resources to complete the activities. Let Them Be Little is not that! 95%+ of the things on the supply list you likely already own (think: string, playing cards, playdough, etc) or are very inexpensive to purchase. The curriculum itself is only $1 per week! 

3. Easy to Do: Let Them Be Little is easy to do with one child at home, or with 7. It is life-style learning, so it integrates easily into your life whether you are a working parent, a stay at home parent or somewhere in between. You can condense this curriculum into 2-3 days or stretch it out into 5--whatever works best for your child. Ideally, completing all of these activities should take less than an hour each day. 

4. For the Learner: This curriculum is written for your child. It's not spoon feeding them connections (like a unit style preschool), but it allows them to make their own connections as they explore and experience life around them. "Education is the Science of Relations" as Charlotte Mason would say. It is hands on, organic and playful and most of all FUN! 

I hope you will Let Them Be Little, protect their "quiet growing time" and join me this school year in cultivating this intentional, beautiful atmosphere of learning for your child! Happy Homeschooling!  

charlotte mason preschool curriculum

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  • Nova Chusan on

    I’m a mema of two girls ages 4 & 3 and I’m seriously considering homeschooling them. I raised 3 kids of my own who are now 26,24,22 so I appreciate the refresher ur offering!:)

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