Happy Autumn everyone, or since we technically live in the south, happy fall ya'll! We officially started back into our tot school program after a long summer break and I am so excited because for the next 26 weeks or so we are going to be focusing on the alphabet! I hadn't originally planned to take such an extended break from Em's schooling, but between summer traveling, holidays, pregnancy fatigue, and honestly just wanting to spend as much time at the pool and outside as we could, tot school just didn't seem like a realistic goal and I decided that a longer break for us would be OK. Consistency and routine seem to be what help Em best retain new information, so I wanted to make sure that before we jumped into our alphabet that we were in a stage of our lives where we could have that regular schedule and consistency! Now that the summer rush has come to a close, we've been back at our tot schooling for a couple of weeks and Emery is already learning and loving her alphabet letters and sounds!
Before I officially jump into our "A" week & activities, I feel it worth taking a minute to let anyone reading that's been following along with our tot school journey up to this point that our alphabet unit will be formatted slightly different than our previous week's curriculums. For our alphabet unit, we do about two activities a day, but there's been much more flexibility as to how the activities have played out, and although there are certain activities specified to each letter, we have a lot of repeat activities for all the letters to in order to help achieve our goals (ex: every week we're guaranteed to do a writing practice activity since learning how to write the letters is one of our goals). I also did a bit of prep-work for the unit by making Emery a "write & wipe" alphabet binder to practice writing her letters on each week, and I also found a few printable worksheets to help us practice recognition, writing, phonics, etc that we've been incorporating into several of our activities. I'll link where I got our printables to for anyone interested, but once again, do what works best for you and your tot!
Throughout the next 26(ish) weeks, our goals for Emery include being able to fully recognize both the upper and lowercase alphabet (she knew all of her uppercase letters before this but we're now trying to bring in the lowercase as well), know the phonics sounds for each letter, introduce her into being able to write each letter as well as her first name, and learn how to apply her letters/letter sounds to everyday objects (ex: "a" is for apple. a-a-apple). I created a list of activities that we could do each week to work towards achieving those goals, and created the above list so that each week we can check off what activities we've done to assure that we're getting a healthy balance of working towards each of the individual goals. If you're wanting to do the same/similar activities as us each week in your alphabet unit, here's a list of supplies that you'll want to pick up beforehand (as well as links to help you find either our same supplies or similar if ours are out of stock). A lot of these supplies we already had, so be sure to search your own toy box at home too before buying to see what you have that might work!
Alphabet Unit Supply/Shopping List:
Once you have all of your supplies gathered, you're officially ready to start our alphabet unit! Except for our dry erase book, we've just printed out the other worksheets as we've needed them and then have had the rest of the supplies on hand. Feel free to personalize the curriculum as needed, and as always, make sure that it's FUN for both you and your toddler!
Tot School Alphabet unit: The Letter "A"
Activities + Goal Focus done on each day:
-Write both upper & lowercase "Aa" together on our chalkboard (recognition + writing)
-Letter "A" scavenger hunt (recognition). We did this while out on a walk together through some local stores/signs, as well as by having Em find the "A" flashcard in her deck and her upper & lower case "Aa" magnets. Once she found the flashcard and the magnets, we hung up all of them on a little magnetic board that she has in her room to look at throughout the week.
-Read aloud + letter sighting in a book (recognition + phonics). Basically I had Em pick out a book from her shelf that had a letter "A" on it (she chose Alice in Wonderland) and then while reading it I'd have her pick out upper & lowercase Aa's and make the sounds in the words.
-Dry Erase Writing Practice in her "write & wipe" book (writing). This was Em's first time ever trying to write and she LOVED using the dry erase marker, so we spent a decent amount of time working on it both before and after her nap.
-"A is for ACTIVE" field trip day (application). Basically the weather was really nice this day and we wanted to take advantage of it with friends, so we spent the day doing lots of active things (splash pad, bikes, etc), pointed out airplanes in the sky, and ate applesauce as a snack!
-Wooden Tracing board (writing). This activity is meant to be a Montessori/self learning activity, so although I gave Em some guidance in first learning how to use it, let her guide herself through it for some quiet time while I watched/tidied up her room.
- Alphabet Phonics worksheet & coloring page (recognition + writing + phonics + application). The phonics worksheet that we use basically has several smaller areas to it that could either be cut out as cards or used as one worksheet (we used as one worksheet), and includes several pictures beginning with the letter of the week, as well as a space below each picture to trace the upper and lowercase letter. Before starting to color, Em & I went through the worksheet together naming all of the objects then emphasizing that those objects started with the letter "A" and made the sound (ex: "Apple starts with A. Say it with me, a-a-apple"). After doing that a couple of times, I helped her trace a couple of the letters, then have free coloring time to fill in the rest of the worksheet.
- "A is for Autumn" Fun Friday painting activity. (application) The weekend that we did this activity happened to fall on the first day of autumn, so I thought it'd be fun to do an activity specific to the changing of the seasons and tie it in with the letter A. Before starting to paint, we read Tap the Magic Tree and Let it Fall to point out what trees do when autumn comes (it's still so hot here that even with autumn our KY trees are still very much green 😆), then afterwards I let Emery use red, orange, and yellow paint to create her own autumn tree on a piece of paper. There's no fancy printable for the activity, I just took a brown marker to a scrape piece of paper to create a tree trunk and some branches, then wrote "Aa is for Autumn" on it to emphasize the letter tie in! Em loves to use these small sponge brushes to paint with, but if you don't have sponges or brushes at home little fingers work just as well!
(side note with Day 5) we'd originally planned to do our fun Friday activity on -well you know- Friday, but Em ended up getting sick that day and nothing school related was going to happen so we spent our actual Friday cuddling & watching Em's favorite educational shows, and then did the actual activity later that weekend once she was feeling better, and that folks, is one of the best parts about at home tot/preschool! We worked things completely around Em and her schedule, and were still able to get in our fun activities despite any road bumps along the way.
That sums up our week of "Aa" activities! Feel free to reach out to me via comments or email with any questions that you might have, and to follow along in more real time find us on Instagram where we'll post our day's activities a couple times a week in our stories!
See you next week with the letter "Bb" !