Through a major oversight on my part, I have failed to even mention one of the best things our family has done in the past year:
It is a mother-led preschool for 3, 4, and 5 year olds that doesn’t focus at all on academics. Instead, it has units on “The Joy of Honesty” “The Joy of Individual Confidence & Uniqueness” “The Joy of the Body” “The Joy of Goal Striving” etc.
The Joy School met two days a week for 2 1/2 hours each time. Along with plenty of outside play and free play with puzzles, playdough, etc. the kids learned songs and stories and games that all reinforced the theme.
Each day’s schedule was laid out in detail in the lesson plans and we rotated so a different mom taught each week. I loved to teach those kids and Mackenzie absolutely adored her time in Joy School. We plan on doing a second year for her starting in the fall, and starting Caitlyn the fall that she turns 3.
Mackenzie had a great group of friends doing joy school with her this year:
I loved that the focus was on topics that are important, but easily overlooked. It gave me a great nudge for us to talk as a family about all sorts of character issues.
Here Mackenzie is showing off her “good noticer” badge and a dandelion she spotted in the middle of winter:
Here is a shot of some of the silliness that is an integral part of any successful day with kids this age:
Making a boat out of blocks during free play time:
Younger siblings were almost always underfoot, adding an element of chaos to every lesson. 🙂
I loved the Christmas program we put together and performed for nursing homes. Here they are putting on a final performance for the fathers:
Mackenzie was the innkeeper and here she’s showing there’s no room in the inn:
She was also the wise man:
And they ended the program singing several songs. For the first performance, Mackenzie insisted on holding a piece of paper from which she could read the words to the song but by the time they performed for the fathers, she was singing confidently without her face buried in the cheat sheet. Woop!
If you’re interested in learning more about Joy School, the Joy School website has a sample lesson and lots more information. If you decide to sign up and use the lesson plans, use “beanaa2” and you’ll get $5 off your signup. (Full disclosure: I think I get a small kickback, too. But I am only recommending this program because I LOVE it. 🙂 )
The lesson plans are so detailed they are daunting at first, but I soon found my groove and was able to follow them with some flexibility. That flexibility will come in handy this fall when I have a nursing baby AND a toddler underfoot while teaching the joy school kids!