Today was our first day of school! And I don’t know who was more excited: me or the girls!
We have been leading up to this day for a couple of weeks, telling the girls they were going to start school soon! And then last week, we did a fun countdown activity with some foam school buses I found at the Dollar Spot at Target (love that place). I used some foam numbers to number the buses from 1-7 and posted them on the wall for the girls to see each day. Each day we counted down to school. And each night, I took one down and told them, “I was up really late last night and I saw one of those buses drive away. And it said, ‘See you at school!'” The girls just loved coming downstairs to discover one less bus each day. And today, they were all gone and we had a different set up ready for them.
I think I am really going to like our schedule for preschool because it works to provide lots of time for everything in the day. After we had breakfast, the girls had lots of time for free play while I was able to tidy up and do some of my chores for the day. I feel like it will actually be manageable to keep the house tidy AND do preschool with the girls. I told the girls they needed to be ready for school at 9:30 and they were ready to start right on time (after a few reminders to check the clock).
To start our day, I talked to the girls about how we are going to do school at home and we are going to learn lots and have lots of fun. I shared with them our rules. Our rules are really simple. We took a few minutes to go over each of them.
Next we started working on calendar time for the first time. We ran into a little bit of a problem with it. The girls had wiped off almost all the dry-erase writing I had put up there. I think I am going to have to hang it out of reach of the girls. W (2 years old) was not that interested in the calendar time, but G (4 years old) was very interested in hearing about the days of the week, the months of the year and looking at the things we had coming up on the calendar. I tried to incorporate a little bit of singing into the calendar time to keep her attention and she really liked them. Although our first time through calendar time was a little rough, I think the girls are really going to love it!
And then we sang some songs. W was somewhat interested and somewhat not, but G is always enthusiastic about singing. W kept requesting we sing “Twinkle Twinkle.” Since this is our “school,” we can do what we want, so of course I obliged her. That brought her around for our next little session.
We took some time to talk about Mama being their teacher. And I shared with them that Jesus is my favorite teacher. I told them that He teaches me so that I can teach them. So any time we get stuck at “school” we can just talk to our Teacher and he will help us (including Mama!). So we quickly prayed to Jesus that to ask Him for help.
And then we did some obligatory first day of school things:
Pictures! I was hoping to do these in our laundry room in front of the chalkboard so we could do the obligatory name, age, what I want to be thing, but the light bulbs went out in the laundry room this morning! But we got some good lighting outside for the pictures.
and Handprints! We worked on a project together of making salt dough and then pressing our hands into them to create handprints. The girls really enjoyed measuring and mixing ingredients for the salt dough. We will need to paint the salt dough hand prints in the next couple of days and put their names on them to finish them.
While I put the salt dough hand prints into the oven to dry out, the girls had a snack.
The next activity I had planned for the girls was a school bus name recognition activity from Totschooling. Instead of just putting their name buses together on the table, I wanted to create something we could hang in our school space for the girls to look at this week. So I taped some butcher paper down onto the floor in the living room and had the girls bring their crayon boxes in. I told them we were going to draw a first day of school picture for our school buses. I wanted to give them free rein on what to draw. They mostly drew people. G drew herself in the center of her paper and added W then the baby and then daddy and mama. W drew herself, too.
Once they had completed their drawings, we got the school bus pieces with letters for each of their names. G did hers first, using glue to attach the bus. She didn’t need much direction on how to do it.
Then we helped W to do hers. She did very well putting her name together, only missing one letter along the way. They were so proud of their name school buses!
And then we settled into story time. I went to the library last week and got a number of school themed books for the girls to read throughout our week leading up to the first day of our school. They are (with affiliate links for your convenience):
Chicken Chickens Go to School by Valeri Gorbachev (not currently available, check your local library
How Do Dinosaurs Go to School by Jane Yolen
You Can’t Go to School Naked by Dianne Billstrom (not currently available, check your local library)
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
Mouse’s First Day of School by Lauren Thompson
The Bus for Us by Suzanne Bloom
Our favorites were definitely Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and You Can’t Go to School Naked. But we did like them all and the girls wanted to read them over and over! Both girls enjoyed the books and I was surprised to discover G was able to read The Bus for Us by herself before we read it the first time. She was able to read most of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, too. But by the end of the week, it was more from memory (it was definitely her favorite).
By the time we were done with our story time, it was time to start on lunch. The girls played a little bit while I got lunch together for them and then our day was done! It was a good first day of school, I think.
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Sounds like you and your girls had a great first day of school! We love Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus too. Thank you for linking up at the #Made4Kids link party!