Over a decade ago, back when my tweens were toddlers, I did “tot school” with them. The idea came from Carisa who coined the term for the idea of intentionally exposing young children to early learning skills through fun play at home. She always had so many great ideas and I also believe that children learn best through play so I loved the concept of tot school.
I took the tot school idea a step further and created weekly themed lesson plans. (Just blame my early childhood, preschool teacher background for my love of everything themed!) I’d pick a theme and then come up with books to read, songs to sing, and other simple activities to do with my young kids. They weren’t elaborate at all but gave me a framework to follow throughout the week to make sure I was being intentional about offering learning activities, some open play activities, and some more parent led ones. I blogged about a lot of it and, to this day, my tot school posts I created back in 2010 and 2011 are some of my top visited posts. You can find them all here.
With my daughter turning two a couple days ago, I decided that I am going to restart tot school in our home. Emma has a bit more television time than I’d like due to us being home 24/7 now and me trying to work while taking care of her and also supervising my other two doing virtual learning so I’d like to cut some of that electronics time out. I don’t have as much time as I did years ago (and especially won’t when we hopefully return to all the activities and sports that kept our family busy pre-pandemic) but in 2021 I want to once again be intentional about creating an environment for learning and offering activities that encourage her to practice skills.
I plan to create more in-depth weekly lesson plans than I did years ago but I am still going to keep things simple. I’ll have a table set up with activities each morning along with an open sensory bin that she can play at as she’d like to (like the one pictured above that I had set up for fall). Then throughout the day I’ll do specific themed activities with her at times that work for my schedule and she’ll also do even more supervised activities and sensory activities in the kitchen (I have two sensory tables in the kitchen with messier sensory ingredients in them but also anything needing more supervision due to small pieces will be done in the kitchen). I hope to do tot school over the next year. I have no plans to formally homeschool but we will see how it goes!
I’m really excited to start this journey again and I hope you’ll join me. You can subscribe to this blog for tot school lesson plans and chat with me on social, too. I’d love to hear from anyone else who also does tot school or similar learning programs with their toddlers :)