The sounds of music have changed to the sounds of animals as we explore the safari at Adventure Academy. As we transitioned into winter we discussed how our local animals used migration, hibernation or adaptation to survive the weather in Northern Michigan. This led to discussions of how different lands are homes for different kinds of animals. Learning about what animals lived in Africa seemed like a warm idea, so we were excited that Mother Goose Time offered the “Going on Safari” curriculum for this months adventure.
We always transition into new themes slowly allowing children to exhaust their questions on the current topic while building up curiosity for the next. Our winter unit had a timely end with the new year and discussions of seasons turned to lessons of calendars. Lessons of years turned to months into weeks to days to hours in a day …to creation of a day, of time, of the world and the animals on it… to dreaming of trips around the world to visit animals we don’t see in our own backyard.
We spent A LOT of time looking at maps and creating maps and making passports. We talked about what we would pack for such adventures and loved the idea that going on a safari meant we could leave the snow-suits at home! We would need to pack a camera to document the trip of course and used our animal picture cards for pretend photos as well as matching games. We used our theme poster as a location map and decided we should use our binoculars to observe the lions instead of approaching them.
From playing with animal figures, to writing in our journals about our trip, the children enjoyed the expedition and came daily eager to participate. Well some kids came daily, but some of our students come once a week or 2 or 3 x’s a week, or just mornings. Some find allowing a flexible schedule makes lesson planning to difficult, but I enjoy the dynamic it creates with different ages and stages throughout the week. One benefit to the scheduling is that it requires us re-cap what we learned on previous days and encourages materials to be left out for later interaction.
No matter the scheduling the routine stays the same. Although children arrive and depart at different times they know our typical schedule after just a couple days of attending. Those who arrive early find quiet options such as manipulatives to interact with until breakfast. After teeth brushing children have free time in our “Imagination stations” – kitchen, blocks, etc… We have a countdown system until clean up time then meet together for our circle time activities (calendar, weather, theme stories/songs…). We use the theme in a craft, game or other learning activity before heading outdoors to play.
After outdoor adventures I offer sensory stations or other activities while I prepare lunch, then we read a story and do some literacy-links (speech/language/writing activities). Little ones rest while older kids work on various electives (I have 1-10 year olds throughout the week). Towards the end of quiet time we have math moment options available until all kids are up and their energy is re-booted. Then we have snacks and more playtime. Depending on the day and how late children are in attendance we may do another “Brain builder” activity (STEM, social studies, etc…) before dinner is served.
Sometimes children are in attendance 7 days a week, since I offer the services from the home it’s open as long as I’m here and available!!! No matter the day the schedule is the same to keep the routine predicable for our guests. If it is only my children at home our system goes out the window! We homeschool and since there is a lot of extra kids around, plenty of structure and many extra curriculars and programs they are involved in we take the day “off” even if it’s a random Thursday. Off days still mean you read though. We read every day so my boys love that each month a new book comes in our Mother Goose Time box.
Reading is a real struggle for some kids, especially those with various labels, but I found that encouraging them to read to a friend (especially if that friend is a cuddly 1 year old) the are very excited to “be teacher.” Reading use to be something we would encourage with offering screen time rewards for doing, yet today one child has challenged himself to read a whole chapter book while we’re stuck inside during a snow storm. Another child has decided to take this months MGT book about African animals and create a tale about such animals in a winter wonderland. The poor lion who’s tail is frozen and roars but noone can hear him over the winter winds…
Ask children around you to change a story by placing the characters in a new land or placing new characters in the stories setting. Encourage creativity. Encourage children to use provided curriculum materials in new ways. There are many great curriculums available for child cares and homeschool students. If you’d like to learn more about Mother Goose Time CLICK HERE. If you’d like to learn about other curriculums we use for our daycare or tutoring students please email Christi@MiFamilies.com. Also email if you would like to enroll your child – we have limited spaces left!
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