Tot School: Morning Routine

Tot School

I thought I’d put down what we try to do every morning when we do school. I say try because it seems there are often days when school doesn’t happen. As we get into older grades I need to be more focused on this, but it’s a gradual work towards progress that I’m getting there. Slowly but surely.

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Each day I have a helper. I printed off each of their pictures and just rotate through them. This becomes more complicated when my kids spread the pictures all out and declare “We’re doing lots of kids helping today Mommy!” They get very excited by this.

My helper gets to choose a pointer, right now they’re different eggs from the dollar store. Then my helper says the date, and then helps everyone count up to our day of the month, ex: 1,2 3….27. I based this somewhat off what primary kids do in counting days of the school year, but I know mine aren’t up to counting up that high, so we do the day of the month.

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Next my helper gets to find a letter. I will make a sound and they point to the letter that makes that sound. All of my kids can do this more or less. It’s getting the beginning letter sound that Princess struggles with, but she’s 2, so I’m not worried. She’s leap years ahead of where her brothers were at her age.

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Next, we do our flannel board math. My helper passes out the flannel boards and each kiddo gets a set of 10 pictures. These are from the Beginners Counting Set. Then my helper chooses a number for everyone to count to. Honestly they’re still struggling with counting, so I’m trying everything I can think of to help them out.

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After this we get out our sticker books. We spent a day going through and putting alphabet stickers on 26 different pages, and I bought some alphabet dividers. Now, each morning my helper gives them each a sticker. The downside to this method is Batman has 3 lions on his L page because he loves lions. The upside is they have true ownership of this book and will sit there paging through it and pointing out the different stickers. I’ve been collecting stickers for quite a while, and I also got a sticker maker, so now anything they want can be made into a sticker as long as it isn’t wider than 5 inches. We also glue things in and will glue in craft projects when we do those.

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Finally, we make words. This is mainly for the boys who are ready for it, but Princess gets to sit in on it. I got a bunch of felt letters, which really weren’t quite what I wanted, but I’m going to make do because I don’t want to buy more. And, so far we’re just working with the words from a reader from Reading A-Z , I have a bunch of samples from them and intend to join. My hope is to have them confident enough so they transition easily into reading. We’ll see.

So, that’s our morning routine. I’ll be posting soon about our stations we work at. Those I’m still refining because I haven’t found any really great ones yet. It’s a work in progress.

Calendar time

I decided to take a page from my school teacher days, and use some things that work there. So, every morning as we start school time we have calendar time and I have a helper for the day.

My helper gets to point to the days as we count them, now with our new egg pointer (since I took a hint from Carissa at http://1plus1plus1equals1.blogspot.com/ ). Next my helper for the day passes out our lap boards from Lakeshore, they’re essentially a small flannel board.


My helper draws a number and each of them puts that number of flannel objects on their board. When I worked at a teacher supply store I got the beginning counting flannel board set. Each kid gets to count it out on their board.


When they think they have the right number we count together, and when it is right we hold it up for everyone to see.


Next we do a pattern for the day. I figured out the cushions we’ve been leaning against are splendid little flannel boards, so I added it into our learning time. Again my helper gets to figure out the pattern for the day.

Finally we also have an alphabet sticker book that we add a new sticker to each day. At first I was only having the helper put a sticker in, but I figured out that was limiting the other kiddos chance to learn more. So they get a sticker and have to figure out what letter the picture starts with. We’re also putting in any craft activities we do related to each letter. So yesterday we made apples from Homeschool Creations http://homeschoolcreations.blogspot.com/2008/09/preschool-corner-letter.html .
Our apples had quite a lot of seeds, they thought this was the most exciting part of all.

When we’re done with calendar time, we head off to complete our activities for the day. Today it was working on our current nursery rhyme, which I’ll finish posting about tomorrow. I was going to post on that today, but I forgot to get a picture of the completed project.

Tot School
For more Tot School ideas visit: http://lapbooksbycarisa.homestead.com/TotSchool.html