At the end of last month after Owen's second birthday, I began looking into free Christian preschool programs so I could begin to be more intentional about teaching Owen and have a little more structure to our day. I eventually settled on ABC Jesus Loves Me because it has a curriculum for two year olds and everything is offered online. For a small fee, you can purchase the printed curriculum to save yourself the time and expense of printing it yourself or having to pull up the website each time you do an activity. I chose to do that and am really happy that I can plan lessons from the book and not online. Though I do go online still sometimes to find additional ideas or links to other tools.
Here's a little more information about ABC Jesus Loves Me:
- Lessons are divided into weeks. Each week focuses on a color, shape, letters, numbers, Bible lesson, song, Bible verse, fine motor skill, gross motor skill and self-care and manners. There is also a book of the week based on the creator's list of top books for two-year-olds.
- Lessons include ideas for art projects, games and other ways to teach each of the concepts for the week. I typically pick and choose which of these I think Owen would like and plan my lessons each weekend before the start of the next week. We only do the structured lessons three days a week and just do a bit of review in our everyday routine on the other days of them week, i.e. pointing out letters or shapes while going on walks around the neighborhood.
- A list of supplies needed for each week is also included so you can make sure you have everything you need for the crafts and other activities.
After looking through the curriculum to see what supplies I would need, I made a quick trip to Wal-mart to pick up art supplies like crayons, construction paper, glue, paint, flash cards, a dry erase board, and a plastic tote to keep it all together.
I then scheduled our first week and I'm happy to say that it went so well. I schedule our day, but I don't have any problems moving things around or changing things up if we need to be a little spontaneous. I divide our "lessons" into little 15 minute segment throughout the day so Owen doesn't get bored or frustrated. In case you're curious, here's an example of what a typical ABCJLM day is like:
- 7 a.m. - I wake up, do my Bible study, workout and shower.
- 8 a.m. - Owen is typically awake by now and I get him dressed.
- 8:30 a.m. - Breakfast and brush our teeth and wash Owen's face.
- 9 a.m. - Bible story/Bible memory verse/Song/Poem.
- 9:30 a.m. - Owen plays independently while I do daily chores (I basically deep clean one room each day of the week, i.e. Master bedroom on Mondays, bathrooms on Tuesdays, etc.)
- 10:15 a.m. - We practice the alphabet letters of the week and the number of the week.
- 10:30 a.m. - More playtime.
- 11 a.m. - We practice identifying the shape and color of the week.
- 11:15 a.m. - We do a craft that pertains to either the Bible story of the week or the book of the week.
- 11:45 a.m. - Fix lunch and eat.
- 12:30 p.m. - Playtime/Take a walk outside.
- 1 p.m. - Read book of the week and a few other books before naptime.
- 1:15 p.m. - Naptime/Mommy time.
- 3 p.m. - Snacktime.
- 3:15 p.m. - Outside play/Gross motor skill activity.
- 5 p.m. - Start dinner and eat once Tim gets home.
- 7 p.m. - Bathtime followed by storytime and bedtime around 7:45 p.m.
Here are some photos from our first week:
This is Owen doing a craft based on our Bible lesson for the week: Creation Days 1 and 2. This is the second day of creation, when God separated the water and the sky. We made clouds by pulling apart cotton balls and gluing them down and then Owen painted the water with a mixture of blue finger paint and shaving cream.
Our gross motor skill for the week was a game called Put the Fire Out. It required me to draw a ladder with a fire at the top (I drew the entire house because it just looked silly without it). Then I filled a bucket with water and gave Owen a sponge so he could soak it and then go up the ladder and squeeze water onto the "fire" to put it out.
He had a blast playing this game.
Run, run! Put out the fire!
Cutest little firefighter ever!
This is a great game for a warm day.
Another art project we did this week was to create planets by drawing with blue and green markers on a coffee filter and then spritzing it with water so the colors bled together.
They turned out really pretty.
Owen knows pretty much all his uppercase letters already, but I am still working on reviewing them with him before I start on lowercase letters. I use these flashcards during our lessons.
Learning with cookies is extra fun.
One of the things I love best about the curriculum is the inclusion of Bible lessons. Owen loves reading his children's Bibles and he is even doing really well with his memory verse. Hearing my sweet boy recite scripture is one of the sweetest things. Even if he did say, "In the beginning, God created... penguins."