PRESCHOOL IS NOT COMPULSORY. In both the US and the UK formal education before age five is optional. Many families like to have some kind of educational plan for their preschoolers, and we are making suggestions on this basis. Please do not feel that because the suggestions are there you must follow them. Readiness varies widely between children - one four year old may be ready to read, another may not yet be ready to learn the alphabet; some children may want to "do school" like older brothers and sisters, whereas others may have no interest in doing anything structured.
READ TO YOUR CHILD. If you do nothing else with a four or five year old, a short time reading to your child each day will lay important foundations. It helps to cultivate the habit of attention, build vocabulary and general knowledge, and - best of all - gives both mother and child some enjoyable one-on-one time. If you have a wriggly four year old, just a few minutes at a time is fine. Don't force your child to sit past the point where it is enjoyable.
WHEN IN DOUBT - DO LESS. Trying to do too much with a young child is worse than doing too little. It is better to start from scratch with a six year old than to find yourself dealing with one who doesn't want to do schoolwork any more. Be sensitive to your child's needs and readiness. If he or she isn't ready, then holding off for a year or so is fine. A child's work is his play!
CULTIVATE GOOD HABITS. These early years are the time for setting good habits that will lay smooth rails in the upper years. Let your young children learn alongside you while advancing your daily duties, and through those tasks foster obedience, truthfulness, a job well done, kind words, charity toward siblings and neighbors. Good habits fostered during these sweet, tender years will yield far more fruit down the road than beginning academic learning early.
YOU ARE THE EDUCATOR. The resources listed here are suggestions meant to give you a clear picture of what is recommended at this level but they are not set in stone. If you find a suitable resource that you prefer, please feel free to substitute.
Recommendations for Preschool
1 hour daily
- Number and literacy activities - daily, 20 to 30 minutes total
- Religion - daily, up to 10 minutes
- Story time - daily, up to 20 minutes
- In addition to this more structured time, aim to include nature study and art and craft activities each week.
THESE ARE GUIDELINES – ADAPT THEM TO SUIT YOUR CHILD AND FAMILY.
Catholic Mosaic by Cay Gibson - gives suggestions for picture books to read during each month of the year, along with a selection of activities to go with each book.
Can be used for both Preschool and Kindergarten. Take care to go at your child's pace - no need to rush through at this age!
Suggested Resources for Living the Liturgical Year
- Advent, Christmas and Epiphany in the Domestic Church (Catherine and Peter Fournier)
- Lent and Easter in the Domestic Church (Catherine and Peter Fournier)
- Marian Devotions in the Domestic Church (Catherine and Peter Fournier)
- Celebrating the Church Year With Young Children (Joan Halmo) - hands-on approach to faith formation for 3 to 6 year olds
- Around the Year With the Trapp Family (Maria Augusta Trapp).
Optional Reading both levels
- Catholic Children's Treasure Box (Maryknoll Sisters)
There are many resources you can use to begin number work with your Prep Level child. A formal curriculum is not necessary, but if you choose to use one, do be sure to fit the curriculum to the child and not the other way round. At this age readiness varies widely; the most important thing is to go at your child's pace. Some will race ahead in this area, others will struggle. Trying to force a young child into doing what a curriculum provider says they "ought" to be doing at this age can result in a child who hates numbers for years to come.
Some Suggested Activities and Topics
- Counting songs
- Number games (dominoes, number lotto)
- Board games with dice
- Make and copy sequences and patterns
- Time (clock with movable hands)
- Measuring (ruler, weight scale)
- Cooking (measurement)
- Money (learn different coins, count pennies)
- Math reading and writing - daily, for 10 minutes each (less for handwriting)
Optional Resource The Oxford First Book of Maths (Rose Griffiths)
Read aloud picture books and stories of your choice. Some suggestions are given below:
- Alfie and Annie Rose, Dogger and others (Shirley Hughes)
- Angus Lost (Marjorie Flack)
- Blueberries for Sal (Robert McCloskey)
- Brambly Hedge books (Jill Barklem)
- Caps for Sale (Esphyr Slobodkina)
- Corduroy (Don Freeman)
- Dandelion (Don Freeman)
- Goodnight Moon (Margaret Wise Brown)
- Harry the Dirty Dog (Gene Zion)
- Harry and the Lady Next Door (Gene Zion)
- James Herriot Treasury (James Herriot)
- Katy and the Big Snow (Virginia Lee Burton)
- Little Bear (Else Minarik)
- Little Grey Rabbit books (Alison Uttley)
- Make Way for Ducklings (Robert McCloskey)
- Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel (Virginia Lee Burton)
- Millions of Cats (Wanda Gag)
- One Morning in Maine (Robert McCloskey)
- Petunia (Roger Duvoisin)
- Stone Soup (Marcia Brown)
- Swimmy (Leo Lionni)
- The Little House (Virginia Lee Burton)
- The Runaway Bunny (Margaret Wise Brown)
- The Story of Ferdinand (Munro Leaf)
- The Velveteen Rabbit (Margery Williams)
- Thomas the Tank Engine books (Rev. W. Awdrey)
- Wheel on the Chimney (Margaret Wise Brown)
To find books for the best price used visit Book Finder.