Space to Learn

So, as I shared recently, I've been thinking more carefully about what direction to currently take with Sister Stinky's "schooling." She turns 3 next month, which is technically early enough for preschool...but is she ready for formal learning?

The answer that I've discerned! Yes, she is ready and eager to continue her time learning with me each day. BUT I think that an "unschooling" method is the best mode of learning for us right now (especially with little Sister Nugget in tow). I am eager, so eager, to teach her as much as possible...but I'm beginning to learn the really value of following the child (thank you, Maria Montessori) and the value of letting my little ones be little as long as possible!

So, I continue to tweak her "preschool space" and I let her explore in there whenever she feels like it. I also rotate toys for imaginative/role play in various areas of the house. Growing up, my mother was a preschool teacher and so I'm mentally visualizing her classroom and the sorts of activities that she did with her students. Sister Stinky has a dress up basket and play silks (she loves both!), she has plenty of dolls - both big and small, a dollhouse, and various toys for small world play. Of course she has her play kitchen (which was mentioned a while back... update: here's a tiny Sister Stinky playing in her play kitchen!) and which is conveniently situated in the real kitchen. She loves, loves, loves all these areas for imaginative play, and she learns so much through imaginative play. She tends to ask a lot of questions about life in general, and I see her working through the answers we give her, processing them through her play.

She also loves books. Oh my goodness. The library is one of her favorite places in the whole entire world, and she would gladly spend a whole afternoon looking at books and being read to. She is definitely my kind of girl!

The Abbot was gifted a Kindle Fire for Christmas a couple years back, and I've pre-empted the use of it. In addition to Netflix, I've found tons of free and inexpensive Preschool apps and e-books for Sister Stinky. She loves using the Kindle, so playing or reading anything on there is a real treat for her!

Which kind of leads me to my favorite time for learning with her...our post nap quiet time.

Sister Nugget is much fussier than I remember her big sister being. The only thing that seems to help is to try to get her to nap solidly through the afternoon and early evening. However, that takes alot of convincing on our part, and many afternoons she just basically spends in my arms - dozing, waking to nurse, getting soothed a bit, and dozing some more. The poor girl's tummy just gets really gassy, and this seems to be all that alleviates it a bit. (I wouldn't say she's colicky because her crying stretches don't stretch out to 3 hours at a time.) Anyway, that means that, when Sister Stinky wakes up from her naptime, I usually just invite her in to bed with us. She can play some learning games on the Kindle, read with us, and sometimes she watches something on Netflix. BUT I want to start taking this time to have special "toys" just for this time of day...specifically, toys to learn with together. The other day I snagged this cool toy for her from a secondhand store (and for a fraction of the price of a new one!) and she seems to enjoy that quite a bit. I'm also wanting to print out and laminate some of the wonderful Montessori freebies from The Helpful Garden for her to explore. As she gets older, her current interests become clearer and it is so much easier to pick out activities for her!

Soooo...that's our plan for learning this year. Nice and slow and following the lead of my favorite little pupil. :-)

What's your learning plan for your tot or preschooler this year?

Linking up with Montessori Monday!


  1. We are doing a small amount of schooling. A few minutes here and there of letters and numbers but plenty of reading books. We are following the catholic version of Charlotte Mason (Mater Amabilis). The twins are 3 but my daughter is not at the 3 yo level developmentally yet so it's pretty loose. I love your ideas. And I can't believe you snagged the primer at a secondhand store. It's on my amazon wishlist

  2. She looks like she is actually reading...amazing.

    #2 sounds a lot like my second born. Not full on colic, but pretty miserable nonetheless. I cut dairy completely out of my diet until he was around 7 months old (I know, awful) and it made a HUGE difference in his fussiness/gassiness. Just a thought.


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