In my big review of Mother Goose Time (If you’re new to the program, check it out!), I told you guys that it is an Open-and-Go program. And, it totally is. In the time since I have posted my review, a few of my friends went and purchased it for their kids, and two of them both sent me a message that said they were a little overwhelmed when they opened their first box of curriculum.
So, I wanted to take a moment to show you how I set up our home preschool with Mother Goose Time in my home, and explain a little bit more about what is in each monthly box and how to use it.
Setting Up Your Home:
The first box comes with a bunch of labels for “centers”, posters, and materials for your circle time each morning. At first, I wasn’t sure I had a use for the center labels until I read my “getting started” guide, and realized it would benefit all of us to have some purposeful organization. It took me a couple months with Mother Goose Time to get into my “groove” with the program and decide how to set it up to flow with my home.
I was able to set up a little library area by the couch, a quiet time area, a dramatic play corner, and a blocks area. I also took the remaining labels, and used the blank second side to label the rooms of the house. This had an added benifit of giving my Kindergartener some words to “read the room” and Em practices letter sounds using the signs.
I really like having simple “centers” around my home, because it means the materials are sorted and ready to play with instead of the kids just hanging out in one corner, and being overwhelmed by all the toys and books at once. This way, Em can put on her dress up clothes, or play in the kitchen, without being distracted by the blocks, and visa versa.
Circle Time Wall
I don’t have a huge amount of space to dedicate to the posters and other goodies, so we have a little wall that I put them up on. Mother Goose Time comes with a fantastic calender and weather center, but since I had already made my own (download them here), I kept using my larger version.
I keep all the theme posters and goodies down low, so Little Miss has them at eye level, and can pull the shapes off and re-match them (they are laminated and attached with Velcro dots) and play with her color wands whenever she likes.
I add items from the curriculum, like the theme posters and poems, and also hang up crafts in this area as they are finished throughout the month. By the end of the month, it’s beautifully decorated!
All of my materials are laminated because the kids are rough on them in my house. If you want to laminate yours make sure you pick up both standard pouches, and the bigger 9 x 14 ones, because the theme posters and other elements are over sized. I use this inexpensive laminator to take care of my materials.
Setting up your Curriculum:
Monthly Materials: The Teachers Pack
The first thing you find in your box is going to be your Teachers Pack. This little bag has all the items needed to get started. The first thing I do is open up this pack, and pull out the materials.
Typically, I am doing this the day before we start the month, so the very first thing I do is pull out the yellow Gathering List. This is a list of materials you will need that are not provided in your box. I give it a quick look over, and add any items I do not already have to my shopping list. Some things for this month that I do not have are: Green bingo dabbers (I’ll grab some do-a-dot markers), fish crackers, veggies, and a small fish net. Nothing is every big or hard to find, but it’s good to make a note of these things first.
Next, I pull out the Teachers Newsletter and look at the Daily Lesson Plan calendar inside. I hand this up on my bulletin board, so I can see at a glance what we will be doing each day. It also works as a good “check off” page so I can mark what we got done, and what we didn’t.
I hang up the Theme Web where the kids can see it. Bug likes to look it over, and tell Em about all the fun things she is going to get to do each month. Mr. Man joins us for most of Em’s lessons, so this Web gives him things to get excited about too!
After this, I pull out the Lesson Plan Book and the Monthly CD. The CD I upload to my iPad so it’s good to go, and I read over the first week’s lesson plans.
Monthly Materials: Daily Packets
At this point, I pull out the first week’s daily packets, and I open them up. A lot of people don’t do this, but I am a little type A and I like to laminate some of the materials.
I open the packet carefully from the top, so I can still use the bag to hold the supplies. I like to laminate the color wands, the shapes and other goodies to add to the shape and character traits poster, and things like puzzles, game cards, and anything else that may need to be extra sturdy with my little bull children.
Once the materials are laminated and back in their packets, I put the packets into our plastic drawers, and we’re good to go for the week! Each weekend, I pull out the next week’s materials to laminate and put in our drawers, and pre-read the lesson plans for the following week.
During the week, there is no work that needs done (and if you didn’t laminate your materials, you wouldn’t have any prep work other than reading the lessons, and gathering any extra materials.
Working with Older Children
This program is working well with homeschooling the older boys as well. As of right now, Bug is finishing up Third Grade, and Mr. Man is finishing Kindergarten. When I sort through Em’s materials on the weekend, I also go through the boys weekly list (using our Master Schedule and Homeschool Planet) and just get everything we need for the week in our “Command Center” and ready to go.
Next month, I’ll share a day in the life to show you how we balance teaching Preschool, Kinder, and Grade 3.
Mother Goose Time Giveaway!
I am so excited that Mother Goose Time has decided to sponsor a giveaway of their preschool program on my blog. They have offered one month of curriculum for up to 6 children. I just know the winner will LOVE it- so use the form below to enter to win, and please tell all your friends!