Teacher Heaven that is...I love that store! It totally feeds into my love of learning. I could SO have my own preschool. I'm so energized by all that. And yes, I was the kid who liked school - well to a point - the teacher had to be good and interesting.
With Hayden's speech delays, our days together often are morphed into learning times. Hayden wasn't picking up speech like a normally developing child would, so every word and phrase was deliberately taught and scenarios are set up with the specific purpose of making him use his words.
I'd like to continue that same learning with other topics now that he's getting older and his speech has progressed.
I'm really excited about all the new "tools" I bought to get him interested and learning.
I'm leaning toward a Montessori-style approach - setting up stations for different activities and letting him rotate through. This will work well as Corbin gets older and wants to be involved more. It would be fun with more kids rotating through the stations, but for now I'll have to be content with just Hayden.
So far we have a "Cutting" station, a puzzle/matching station, "Coloring", and a new station I will be adding, a "Sorting" station. I love the counting bears and I found a set that came with sorting cups that matched the different colors of the bear. For those that haven't seen these, they are small plastic bears of different colors which are often used for counting, sorting, pattern and color skills.
I bought lots of other things for future "stations". But we will be starting with only three at this time since Hayden's attention span is limited. As he learns to focus on each station we can increase time or number of stations.
Today we cycled through the "Cutting" and "Coloring" stations with NO tantrums. Whoa! In fact, he very politely gave me the scissors and said "No more, all done. Color?". So we moved on to coloring. A big step in the right direction for us. Coloring has really helped his vocabulary. Coloring begins as independent play but ends with Hayden identifying different objects and shapes in the books. Today he learned about squares.
The next stations was a "Play" station with lots of little army troops, but which really works on his hand eye coordination and balance skills. He loves his army men and threw an enormous fit at the end of this one - but only because it was nap time too!! I'll have to come up with a better transition for that. Perhaps moving into book time in his room to get him settled for his nap.
Oh the endless possibilities of things you could do! It's all so much fun. I wish I had loads of money - I would have really come home with some stuff. As it is, I spent way more than I thought I would - but it's so worth it.