Tag Archives: learning idea

Ship Shape

Pre-school is cool!

The privilege {greatest honor} of my life is that I have gotten to be the “pre-school teacher” for my grandbebes.  First Gavin, whose thirst for all-things-learning just blew me away.  He came at 8 am on his “school days” and just was raring to go.  Then I got Hunter and then Guini.

A year ago, Gemma and I started hanging out for a couple of hours for arts and crafts and “school.”  We still meet on Wednesday mornings.  Next week, Averi, who is almost four, will start showing up for some everyday-educatin’.  I am one lucky Nonna!

Simple stuff.

For several months when Gavin was only 2, his favorite “toy” at our house was a big stack of disposable, plastic cups.  He’d build and build and build with those things.  Hunter got to make art from his paper shapes a few years ago, too.

Simple learning is the best.

I am drawn to big expensive learning systems like everyone.  I felt my own children suffered because I couldn’t afford the I-am-hook-ed-on-pah-honics-I-am-learning-to-read” back in the day.  They didn’t.  Because life teaches us what we need to know.

Pre-schoolers just drink up knowledge from measuring cups while helping you cook and getting to run around the house with rulers and measuring tapes and making texture pictures with paper and crayons.  They learn by watching you and yes, even watching Sesame Street.

My advice? Forget trying to have your children read at a 3rd grade level by the time they are four.  Some kids are prone to it, but some parents are grieviously hungry to prove something about themselves by making their little ones bypass learning-through-play to following rigid educational systems.  No bueno.

A three-year-old should be a 3-year old.  And a four-year-old who is four rather than acting 12 is so much more preferable.

Shapes and colors.

I started this with Gavin and every kid since gets to do this simple thing, too.

The simplest.  Colors and shapes.  I pull a piece of every color of construction paper I have at the moment.  I cut basic shapes from each (stack ’em four-high!).   Currently we have maybe 8-10 colors (including a blue and a light blue) and the shapes are just squares, rectangles, circles, triangles, hearts and stars.  With this simple little pile of paper, your pre-schooler can achieve success over and over, time after time in lots of fun ways.

  1. Practice identifying the shape and color by using full sentences, like “This is a red triangle.  Here is a purple square.”
  2. Sort all the shapes by color.
  3. Sort the whole pile by shape.
  4. Divide shapes into “sets,”  making sure each set has one of each shapes.
  5. Gemma is currently into “patterns.”  So you could start a pattern and have your pre-schooler finish it, like: circle, square, heart, circle, square, heart…”  And then they would keep the pattern going from the shape pile.
  6. Then there is counting.  They could go through and count just the triangles, for instance.  Or they could try counting the whole pile of shapes.

At the end of their pre-school time with Nonna, I let them make an art piece gluing all the colorful shapes to a large piece of paper.  Somewhere surely I have pictures of everybody doing this?  Must look.



Shapes and colors, because we all had to start somewhere.  *smile.