Friday, July 1, 2011

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How do you teach the "Whole Child?"

Children take in the world with their whole bodies.  Put a 3-year old in a flower garden and watch how she learns about flowers.  She looks at them.  She touches them.  She picks them.  She smells them.  She puts them on her head.  She dances with them.  She sings with them.  She hears the bees flying around them.  She might even try tasting them.  She probably picks one for you too.

Similarly, when we teach children we should let them learn with their whole bodies.  Our lessons should reach out to their senses, their different learning modalities, their passions, interests, skills, and struggles, and their different intelligences.  Every lesson doesn't need to include every aspect of the Whole Child--that would be overwhelming!  Over the course of a month, structured lessons for a preschooler should appeal to each aspect of the Whole Child at least once and, ideally, several times.  Scheduling a curriculum a month at a time simplifies your work and helps you keep the big picture in mind.  It also provides your children the variety they love.

Over the course of a month, plan activities and crafts that develop different skills and teach different lessons. Address social skills, fine-motor skills (like drawing and cutting), large-motor skills (like running and jumping), creative thinking, illustration, drama, letters, numbers, colors, and anything else you want to enjoy with your children.  Use a monthly calendar to see all your plans at a glance.

Do you have any planning methods you particularly love?  We'd love to hear about them!