Preschool. Merriam Webster defines preschool as “a school for children usually younger than those attending elementary school or kindergarten.” This is the season of life we are in right now. I have a 3-year-old daughter that started preschool almost two weeks ago.
Elizabeth attends preschool three mornings each week right now. It has been so much fun for both of us. She enjoys going “to school” and I find it so exciting to see what papers, projects, and knowledge she brings home each day. These first two weeks have been all about how to hold a pencil correctly, draw straight lines, color inside the lines, follow directions, etc. And, she almost has the Pledge memorized. 3-year-old brains are amazing!
This week, she will get to start learning about their first letter, A. She gets to bring a Show and Tell item on Thursday that begins with the letter A. We have already picked out what she is going to take – Alfie and Bets ABC (A pop-up alphabet book)! This is one of my FAVORITE books. It’s about Alfie and Bet (sounds like alphabet 😊) and how they are “off on a quest to find the letters that they like the best”. It so cute! It rhymes (which helps children learn to predict text), it’s a pop-up book (which helps with retention), it’s educational (teaches the alphabet and words/items that begin with each letter), beautifully illustrated and entertaining. What more could you want?
3-year-olds are remarkable people. This is such a special age. Their little brains are soaking up SO MUCH information every second. I am constantly amazed by what Elizabeth picks up on. She wants to be all grown up. She wants to go to school. She wants to drive. She DOESN’T want to take a nap. But….she needs a nap. She needs boundaries. She needs a schedule. 3-year-olds are old enough to pick out their own clothes, but sometimes, it’s not the best choice. Pick your battles, right?!?!?! I guess as long as it’s not picture day!
One of Elizabeth’s favorite games right now she actually refers to as her “Learning Game”. If she wants to stay up late, she will come into my room where I’m working and say, “Mom, can I stay up and play my learning game? I promise I’ll be quiet.” She does this several times a week! What she calls her Learning Game is actually called a Learning Palette. I believe this is one of Usborne Books & More’s best kept secrets!
The Learning Palette is seriously amazing. It allows you to customize learning to meet the needs of your child. And – it doesn’t require an outlet or batteries! It includes Reading Curriculum for Kindergarten through 3rd Grade and Math Curriculum for Kindergarten through 5th Grade. Check out this video to get a sneak peak at what the fuss is all about: https://youtu.be/ag7UkdfpmM4
I purchased the Kindergarten Starter Set for Elizabeth several months ago. (Side note – the Starter Sets include the Learning Palette Base AND a set of Curriculum Cards. Buying this as a combo saves you $5. Once you own one base though, it is not necessary to buy any more. All cards will work with the same base.) The Kindergarten Starter Set was a great first purchase for our Learning Palette. It helps Elizabeth work on skills like numerical order, patterns, number recognition, counting, shapes, and more. Each set includes 12 Curriculum Cards and each card has 12 questions. So, you get a total of 144 questions with each set. Such a great deal! As she gets older, we can purchase more cards to go with the base she already has.
What I like best about the Learning Palette though, is that Elizabeth can work on it independently. It is self-correcting. And she thinks she is playing a game! How awesome is that? She is learning, working on the skills she needs for Kindergarten, and having fun, all at the same time. We also have the Kindergarten Reading Center Kit. We haven’t attempted very many cards yet, but there are quite a few that she has been able to do. With these cards, she is able to work on her letter recognition, letter order, sounds, first words, and so much more. This Reading Center Kit came with 5 packs of Curriculum Cards, each with 12 cards inside. There is lots of “fun” in Elizabeth’s future!
Another one of Elizabeth’s favorite products are our Wipe-Clean books. If you have not seen these yet, you need to check them out for yourself. They are great! They are durable and wipe away cleanly, effortlessly, and quickly. We now have over 60 wipe-clean products. They are available in a wide range of products including doodling, mazes, alphabet, 1-2-3, adding, telling time, cursive, and so much more.
While preschool is fun, and soaking up all this learning is fun, their brains need a rest too! I love that Elizabeth is getting old enough that she likes for me to read longer stories to her at night. I shared with my Facebook community recently that we started reading the Little House on the Prairie series together a few weeks ago. We read one chapter together almost every night. It has been such a fun bonding experience. I was a huge Laura Ingalls fan growing up, so it was been extra special for me to read to Elizabeth from my very own childhood book set. (Thank you, mom, for saving that!)
I know I have shared several of my favorite preschool books already, but here are a few more of mine and Elizabeth’s favorites:
Our Finger Match books are also pretty awesome! They are another way for children to practice their skills independently. The uniqueness of the books allows the child to check their own answer on each questions. Plus, the finger holes get the child moving, which makes learning math or letters seem more like a “game” and less like an “assignment”. Elizabeth loves these. They are PEFECT for the car as there are no pieces to lose!
Think sticker books are just for fun? Think again! Sticker books help a child develop dexterity. The more they can work with their little hands, and work on their fine motor skills, the better they will be able to do things like hold a pencil and color inside the lines! Sticker books also give a child a chance to express and develop their creativity.
Which book mentioned here do you find most intriguing? What are your favorite go-to books for preschoolers? What was your preschool experience like? Do you remember going to preschool? Share in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!