Managing multiple children of multiple ages is a challenge. Most home schooling Moms question their sanity several times per week if not per day. Our case study examines the effectiveness and desirability of using quality curriculum in combination with simple modifications based on children’s individual ages and skill levels. Results show that box play based curriculum can be used with multiple ages in a beneficial fashion. Our findings support that top notch preschool curriculum such as Mother Goose Time when used appropriately and with an understanding for children’s unique needs can reduce stress and increase the enjoyment of home based learning for the entire family.
Mother Goose Time is a monthly, theme derived, boxed curriculum for preschool children. Supplements are available for toddlers as well as older children expressing a readiness for more math and literacy. The program is built to be flexible and take as much or as little time as desired to complete. There are several suggested projects and activities from which to choose. Free choice, resting, snacking, outdoor time, and additional child-directed play are always encouraged.
Ladybug – 3 year old female – obsessed with ladybugs, being outside, and pretending to be a rhinoceros. Often calls herself a Towhee after the songbird and enjoys dramatic play featuring the beach and eating raw vegetables and chocolate.
Owl – 2 year old male – very two. Enjoys eating paint, dirt, and assorted cardboard products more than food. Extremely lovable and huggable, but suffering from severe toddler trauma disorder. Lover of owls, cars, trucks, and and his 2.5 month old baby brother.
Guppy – 3 month old male. Resident adorable and fabulous baby. Prefers to be held over bouncy chairs and assorted baby carriers, but loves the swing.
Materials and Methods:
Mother Goose Time‘s Food and Fitness – Fruit Day was used as the boxed curriculum of choice. Slight modifications were made to include the 2 year old in the activities.
Making a Craft Strawberry
The children were supplied with a red paper strawberry shape, green paper, a pokey ball, scissors, and glue. The three year old was supplied white paint to stamp the strawberry shape with “seeds.” Three simple modifications were made for the toddler.
1. Substitute suitable materials. Water was substituted for the paint for the two year old.
2. Adjust for skill level. The toddler was encouraged to practice using the scissors, but ripping the green paper to create leaves was not discouraged for either child.
3. Intercede when needed. Masking tape was applied to avoid utter melt down when the strawberry shape was accidentally ripped during the water application process.
Fruit Basket Sorting
Green and red foam hearts were hidden underneath a blanket. The instructions say to pick only the “ripe strawberries” (red hearts). The dice was used to determine how many berries they were to pick. Five simple modifications were created to make the game more accessible for the two year old.
1. Clearly define roles. The kids worked together to divide the hearts into green and red batches, and each child was responsible for picking only his or her color of hearts.
The kids took turns to avoid bumping heads, but going under the blanket was tricky and often resulted in the child crawling off with the blanket and unearthing all of the strawberries at the same time…….so…….
2. the blanket was lifted onto chairs to make crawling underneath it easier. (Be flexible.)
3. Be attentive. When the two year old seemed to lose interest and started throwing the hearts – sigh – we took a yoga break and then returned to normal play!
4. Encourage cooperation and respect. The two year old was encouraged to ask the three year old for help when he struggled to count the number of hearts he was supposed to pick. She is learning to help without taking over and he is learning to ask for help instead of getting frustrated.
5. Use cues from the kids for when and how to extend the learning and fun. When the counting became too much for the two year old, but the three year old wanted to continue play, the game was extended by having her count the number of hearts rolled on the dice and then having them take turns putting that number of hearts up on the window. The great thing about foam – when lightly moistened it sticks to glass!
Grandma was recruited for pineapple exploration and snack time. The baby needed Mama!
- Cute craft completed to show Dad!
- Game allowed the kids to practice color sorting, counting, taking turns, helping each other, and taking breaks when needed.
- Grandma was involved in the home school effort!
- Baby was fed and soothed.
- Children and house still intact.
- We had a ton of fun!
- Learning took place!
The children appeared to enjoy Mother Goose Time. Happiness levels and compliance was high, tantrum levels were low. Mom’s stress level appeared no higher than on days when curriculum is not completed and voice was raised twice; once in response to a paint brush being aimed directly at a cat and once when excessive water was used to stick some foam hearts to the window. Overall satisfaction of the children and Mom was excellent.
Mother Goose Time Preschool Curriculum
“R” Preschool Academy of Excellence
Please note I have a science background and science driven mind. This “case study” was written just for fun. Mother Goose Time is an awesome curriculum and a blessing to our family. We love being Mother Goose Time ambassadors and sharing our love of learning!