A lot of parents have written in asking us about an ideal classroom schedule for children under seven, so I wanted to put a few thoughts here on the most important aspects of a well-rounded curriculum for this age group.
First, go outside and be active! An ideal schedule has the children outdoors and active at least twice a day with a combination of physical play such as climbing on monkey bars and riding trikes and group games such as foot races and soccer(aka football for those of you outside the US).
One tip for homeschooling parents is that this outdoor play period is a great time to outsource teaching, if you need a break and can afford the help, because a teenager or even older elementary school student can be a wonderful inspiration for active play.
Second, bring one or two active play projects indoors (especially if you are loathe to go out in the rain). Old staples such as ring-around-the-rosy or musical chairs are fantastic.
Third, leave long periods of time for concentrated work. Even very young children have the ability to concentrate for longer periods of time than one usually thinks. Let your child move at his or her own pace and become fascinated with a particular project that catches his or her fancy. Because young children go through phases, a certain piece of equipment may become a favorite for weeks on end. This is fine!
Fourth, don't worry about variety in the curriculum over short periods of time. A lot of Montessori schools have adopted weekly curriculum schedules because parents want to see that the school is "doing something" (never mind that the children are five years old, but I digress). Your goal should be introducing a well-rounded curriculum over a longer period such as one or three months. If your child falls in love with science experiments and art for a month straight, there is no need to start forcing him or her to put aside the paints and microscopes and bring out the math equipment. Of course, if you are following our curriculum, you will see how we incorporate all types of material into, say, science or art projects.
Our curriculum sign up is here.
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