I didn't think I would be considering even going to any kind of work plans for either of my youngest two. They are both too young, and a plan is not necessary. What I did decide to do, however, is prepare for a work plan.
I know that when I gave the older three a work journal and they began to use it, Bug would waste no time in asking for one. That's how it generally goes with a younger child- "Oh, the big kids get one? Where's mine???" When she did ask, I just explained to her that she didn't need one just yet, and surprisingly, she hasn't made an issue out of it. Jessica from Montessori Trails shared in this post about her son's first work plan - that he started at 5 1/2 years. While I was working on the accountability part of our new work journals (explained next post), I was thinking about the work plan that Jessica's son used. She offers a great printable, by the way, for anyone who wants to use the same card style for their little ones. However, it is definitely tailored to what she needed for him, and I needed something tailored to what WE need.
Some of you might remember my posts on the primary montessori environment and classroom. I remember going to observe at one point at the end of the school year, and I remember seeing something I hadn't seen before. Some of the primary students had half-size sheets of paper, and there were four-five words on them (probably printed from a site such as www.handwritingworksheets.com). One of the 3rd year students just happened to show hers to the teacher, catching my attention, and pointing out that 'she only had sensorial left'. I recognized it for what it was - a type of work plan for the primary child. I didn't see the exact words, as I was just close enough to be able to tell what it was, but not close enough to read each word, but I imagine it was *culture*, *language*, *math*, *sensorial*, and maybe *practical life* - or something like that. Thinking about it now, it was preparing them for what was to come - an early work plan.That would be a great way to prepare your early child for a work plan, if you have your classroom (or materials) separated by category. It doesn't overwhelm them, and there is still plenty of time and freedom for them to be able to choose other work during the day that they would like to do. However, the terminology is not as commonly thrown around here in the home - my children don't readily recognize *practical life* and *sensorial*, so I still needed something different. I also wanted to stay loose as far as what I expected her to do - I don't have any set expectations at all for her, really - I like to see her touch Math and Language at least once a day, but I don't push it on her just yet. Usually, she does anyway. Instead, I came up with this:
I grabbed some index cards, and, with my very inartistic drawing skills and some colored pencils, began drawing each individual work on a card for her. I covered all the materials in the sensorial category (that we have) and am still working on making sure I have a card for each math and language material that she has been presented. Above, you can see cards for the first Geometric Triangles box (a DIY that I have never posted on, but will have to), Melissa and Doug's See-and-Spell in the top left corner, and across the top you can see the card depicting our teen strips (printable from JMJ publishing/Liveable Learning).There are quite a few, probably about 15 or so, and that doesn't include all of the math materials or any of the language yet.
|Here is a picture of where they are stored. This picture was in my last post, about the pocket chart. On the top shelf there is a small basket in the left, front - that is her basket of cards.|
They are kept in a basket on top of a shelf, next to our mantle, and our hanging pocket chart. One of Bug's biggest hurdles to get over is working independently, and right next to it is making an independent decision on what she would like to do. She tended to be a big floater, having no real direction. I wanted to enable her to have an assist in choosing something when she couldn't make up her mind, as well as being able to feel like 'one of the big kids' by having a part in the pocket chart. As she chooses a work, either on her own or with the aid of the cards for ideas, she completes it and then sticks the card in her designated pocket. So far it has worked very well, and she tends to be able to self motivate better morning. Hopefully this will prepare her for the work journals which will come at some point in the next year - year and a half.
For the links to the earlier posts in this series on work plans look below. I hope this has helped someone. I know for us, having a solid work plan is key, and I believe that could hold true for every homeschool family!