We’ve come a long way! So far in the How to Teach Home Preschool series we’ve learned about setting ourselves up for success by knowing our teaching style and our child’s learning style, how to choose just right activities for key preschool skills, and how to get set up for teaching preschool at home. Now it’s time to focus in on home preschool organization.
The final thing I like to do before actually planning lessons and jumping into home preschool is get all of our materials organized. During busy days you’ll want to know where to quickly grab the items you need for activities. And it’s great to have a plan in advance for completed projects. Otherwise they’ll quickly accumulate.
Organizing Learning Materials
First let’s think about where you are going to store the learning materials you’ll use regularly with your child. Below are some things to consider as you start organizing your learning materials.
- Think about what items you’ll use daily and decide where you’d like to put them.
- Maybe you’re making a calendar board to use each morning for math activities. Will you hang it in a dedicated school space? Will you create it on a science project board so you can easily store it or transport it to different locations as needed?
- What about writing materials? Will you store them in an open caddy for kids to see and use all day and take along for learning on the go? Or will you keep them in a secure cabinet toddler siblings can’t access without help?
- Where will you place materials like picture books, blocks, and games for child-led playtime? Do you want them on open shelves for children to see, or do you want to store them away until it’s time for play?
- Will you be using learning trays, workboxes or something similar? If so, how do you want to organize those, and where will you store them.
- Some families choose to use a Calendar Notebook or some type of learning notebook. Will you be using one? How will you organize it, and where will you store it so it can be easily accessed and put away each day?
- Will you have an art area where you store supplies that your child can select from freely, or will you keep these with your teaching materials?
Because we all approach home preschool differently we’ll likely have different answers for these questions. If you would like additional help thinking through the organization of your materials I’m happy to help. Just tag me in the Facebook group, and we’ll do some brainstorming together.
- Some materials you’ll be using weekly or perhaps seasonally. Where will you store them, and how will you remember where to find them when you need them?
- Weekly items can be stored in a storage cabinet or other accessible area.
- For seasonal items I find it very helpful to use large plastic tubs with labels on them. We store ours in the garage or interior closets.
Organizing Teaching Tools
Now that you have an idea where you’ll put the materials your child will be using for home preschool take a little time to think about how you want to keep your own materials organized. It can be really frustrating to plan a great activity and completely blank on where you put the materials when the time comes to actually do it with your child. A little planning in advance will save you a lot of time and unnecessary stress during your home preschool days.
- If you are using a weekly checklist or lesson plans, where will you store these? I chose to keep mine on a clipboard that I could easily write notes on and carry around the house. Some people prefer the extra space of a full notebook.
- A weekly system for materials can also be very helpful. You can buy or make a set of open bins for each day of the week. Then as you plan lessons and activities for the upcoming week just toss them in the correct bin. When the day comes your materials will be ready and waiting for you to use. It can be a huge sanity saver!
- What about special craft supplies and learning materials that you do not want your child to have unsupervised access to? Where will you store those? I found it helpful to keep a cabinet of “special” materials that I could introduce for specific activities.
Finally it’s helpful to decide how you will handle all of the creations your little one makes during home preschool. Whether they’re painting away during free playtime, making a cool structure out of recycled materials, or doing a craft activity, all of those bits of paper and projects accumulate quickly.
- Kids do enjoy seeing their work on display, and it shows you value their effort. Will you have a dedicated space for displaying these items? Maybe a line to hang papers and a shelf to show recent projects? I found it helpful to have a limited space and let the child choose what to display. When the are got full the child chose what to take down. It was interesting to see which works kids were most proud of through this process.
- And what will you do after those projects are no longer on display? Will you save small items in a memory book or memory box? Will you take a picture or video and save them digitally instead?
- If you make seasonal crafts, will you keep them to display again next year? Where will you store them so you remember?
I could go on and on about home preschool organization, but I think that’s enough to get you thinking for now. If you still have questions, hop on over to the Home Preschool Help Facebook Group and let’s chat. Are there certain areas I can help you troubleshoot? I’d love to help!
This is Unit 4, Lesson 4 of the Guide to Getting Started with Home Preschool. Return to the main How to Teach Preschool at Home page or proceed to Unit 5, Lesson 1: Create Your Lesson Plans (coming soon).