Playing Preschool: Back to School
A Companion to Busy Toddler's Playing Preschool Year 2
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The following is an excerpt from my post on Instagram from August 1, 2021:
This #sundayshelfie is for everyone who is going #backtoschool this Fall, including ME 😮. Yep, I accepted a position teaching middle school English and I will be heading back to the classroom in a few weeks! 😱
I feel so blessed to have been able to stay home with my babies for FOUR years but I always knew I would return to teaching someday. When there was an opening at the private school where my husband teaches high school, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. The school is 3P-12th grade so my oldest son will attend preschool there, however, my youngest will have to go to daycare for a year before he can join us. 😳
I am excited about the upcoming school year and all that it holds for each of us, but I’m not immune to #momguilt. This will be a big transition for our family but I think we’re all ready for it.🤞🏻 To help prepare for this transition, I rounded up all the books to beat the back-to-school jitters and front-load the experience, including being a good friend.
While we won’t be formally doing Busy Toddler's Playing Preschool anymore, sensory play, hands-on-learning and of course, reading together has become such a natural part of our home that I’m sure it will continue in some form.
The Playing Preschool resources on my blog will be available as long my Amazon affiliate income can support it, but I would invite you to follow my friend @frugalwifemommalife on Instagram who will be doing Year 1 for her second time, starting in a few weeks. She has already completed Years 1 and 2 with her son (so she is basically a pro) but will be starting again with her daughter while offering extensions for her son. I can’t wait to relive everything we love about the program vicariously through her account 🥰.
Thank you, friends and followers for all of your support!
I think it goes without saying that I'm having lots of mixed emotions as the new school year approaches. One of them is that I'm sad that I won't get to experience Year 2 of the Playing Preschool curriculum (we did Year 1 twice). I did manage to make it halfway through program compiling book substitutions for each unit of Year 2 for my Companion Guide. I had hoped to finish this summer but I quickly become immersed in reading middle grade novels and planning for the upcoming school year.
I'll be adding the links for Units 1-9 of Year 2 to the blog post, but I thought I would also offer some tips on how to find book to substitute or supplement the suggested books.
Browse your library's online catalog. Depending on your library's catalog system, you may be able to type in the title and see related titles in your search. My catalog search is not that sophisticated, so I usually type in a keyword or two and filter to only "juvenile" titles. That works really well for non-fiction books, but I love to find picture books that tell as story as well and they aren't usually as obvious. I have spent many pleasant hours combing through the shelves of the children's library to discover titles that tie in to the unit's theme, but not everyone has the time or inclination.
Join the Playing Preschool with Busy Toddler's Curriculum Group on Facebook. This is crowd-sourcing at its finest. For each unit of Year 1 and Year 2, people share their suggestions related to each theme under the "Books and Media" post section of the Guides. The best part is that these titles are ones that people actually found in their library, not some obscure book list.
Use Pinterest as a search engine. So many teachers and book bloggers drive traffic to their website through Pinterest. These lists are usually better quality than searching Google directly because your results are not just made up of ads with shopping links. Preschool and elementary teachers are teaching many of the same concepts and have actually read the books and use the books in their classrooms.
Ask your librarian for suggestions. They are walking, talking card catalogs when it comes to recommending books and most of them love sharing their favorites. I am on a first-name basis with a few of our librarians and while they may not always be able to stop what they are doing to help me when I visit in person, they are prompt in responding to an email.
Friends, I cannot even tell you what this program has meant to me, as a first-time toddler mom hoping to instill a love of learning to a mom of two trying to keep my three-year-old engaged during a pandemic while entertaining a taby.
I want to say thank you for being here and allowing me to part of your homeschool preschool experience; the sense of purpose and creative outlet afforded me when I began blogging about our journey has been so rewarding, not to mention the opportunity to connect with many of you.
And of course, I am so grateful to Susie Allison, creator of Busy Toddler and best-selling author of Actual Parenting for the wonderful gift of Playing Preschool and moreover, for encouraging and empowering parents of young children to make it to nap time!
See also: Playing Preschool Companion Holiday Units, Companion Guide to Playing Preschool, Book Recommendations, Reading to Babies, Reading to Toddlers