Building an Early Learning Library
With Mother Goose Time

Welcome to Beautiful Mess; thanks for joining me today. This week I had... no daycare kids!!! This really never happens. Somehow my week felt oddly hollow, but I took advantage of the time to catch up on some 'mom' tasks that I had been falling behind on (Can you say HUGE mountain of laundry and clothes sorting. I'm talking we have enough clothes to cloth our family 2 times over. The excess was getting out of control.)
With no daycare this week we took a break from preschool activities, so this week I'm going to share some stuff from out side of our weekly learning.

We've been using Mother Goose Time preschool at home for just about 6 months now. I wanted to show you how quickly a a specialized Early Learning library can build.

In this post I'm going to be sharing 3 libraries and one resource, our Book Library, our Music Library and our Manipulative Library. I will also be sharing our Baseline Assessment resource.



Book Library

Each month our box comes with printed book that goes along with the monthly theme. I hunted high and low for our Goldilocks and the Three Bears book but it is missing at the moment, so it is not featured in the pictures. This books are amazing. They vary from month to month.




 Growing Gardens featured a joke book

Alphabet House was our Goldilocks book 

Nature Detectives was a non-fiction books featuring beautiful close up photos of textures and patterns found in nature.

Fables and Folktales book went directly with the theme and featured stories with a moral lesson.

Friends and Feelings was a book centered around a math story (think the show Peg and Cat0

In the Orchards book was Johnny Appleseed (another personal favourite for me)


Archiving

We keep these books together on our sling bookshelf whenever we don't have library books withdrawn. When we do have library books out, our MGT books get safely stored in my teachers cabinet and library books only go on the sling shelf. This way the kids don't get bored of the MGT books because we don't see them all the time. The monthly theme book gets pulled up as needed with our learning plan.



Music Library

Each month comes with an original music CD to go along with the theme. This is no low budget production. The song writing and musicianship is exceptional. If you've visited our Preschool blog before, you will hear me often talk about how the kids do a big part of their learning through the music. The songs are catchy and incredibly singable.
The music genres are also eclectic. I never get sick of a overtly childish please-don't-play-that-song-again-or-I-might-barf style of music.


Titles
Circle Time - These songs are songs used continuously through the months for the kids to sing along to.
I tend to use my voice alone as it's easier to follow than the instrumental music for some parts of circle time, but it's a great option if you have no music background/ can't carry a tune.

Growing Gardens - Rock inspired music
The Alphabet House - Electric Pop inspired music
Nature Detectives - Jazz inspired music
Fables and Folktales - Audio Stories (that went with the book) and Instrumental songs
Friends and Feelings - Acoustic Pop inspired music
In the Orchard - Folk inspired music (my favourite)



Developing An Ear for Music

Music is very important in our house, which is why we have a whole room of our house just for our instruments.  Imparting a passion for music to my kids is very important to me. I have my favourite styles of music but i think exposure to different styles of music; rock, folk, country, classical, opera, pop etc. helps develop their ear. By that I mean their technical ear. They are exposed to different meters, rhythms, vocal styles. Kids will naturally gravitate to what moves them but they will also broaden their ear to the language of music and artistic expression the more chance they are given.

Art is like a language and the more children are exposed to the arts in their full spectrum the more they learn the language of art. We know through research that children's minds are at a critical age for acquiring language at a much faster rate than adults. Exposing them to the full spectrum of language through music even across cultures is part of a complete education.

Archiving

We keep the CD's i their original packaging in a silver bucket on the bookshelf below the CD player. I want them to get listened to but also want them kept in one spot. When they are not being used, they also go into my teaching cabinet.

Manipulative Library

I would be hard pressed if I had ever to set out to create this manipulative library on my own. Not only that, it would have been EXPENSIVE. Many of the manipulative sets we receive cannot be picked up at any store in town. I've even been hard pressed to find the exact same sets on specialty education websites.


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Counting and Sorting Manipulatives

We have several sets of counting and sorting manipulatives:
Counting Rabbits (I like that their are two sizes of rabbits in this set which allows them to sort by size as well)
Counting Buses
Counting Glass Beads
Counting Sticks
Seed Collection

Our counting manipulatives have also been used as weights for science experiments or used in imaginative play.





Shape Manipulatives

We have several shape sets that we use on our monthly shape maps, to create images and patterns. 
One set of Pattern Blocks
One set of Multi-style Tangrams
One set of Transparent Shapes (Can be used on a light table)
One set (combined from many little sets) of foam shape tiles






Sensory Manipulatives

Several of the sets mentioned above fall into the category of promoting sensory development. Sets of sensory manipulatives would be easy to create from simple craft supplies at the dollar store or found in nature like feathers, pine cones, seeds, moss, leaves, twigs, cotton balls, and pebbles.

Feathers
Soil
Foam Shapes
Transparent Shapes
Seed Collection

We use these for counting and other creative play. For my toddlers, part of discovery begins with a variety of tactile materials to touch and interact with.

Card Sets

Alphabet Cards
Number Cards with dice dot formations on reverse
Shape Cards


We use these for various interactive games. I especially love the dice dot counting cards. I love when I am able to introduce the preschoolers to things that I see my Kindergarten kids coming home with. I feel like it's giving them a head start. Kindergarten kids use dot patterns in their first math and numeracy skills.

Archiving

These manipulative sets are stored in bins in my teaching cupboard. I pull out each set on it's own. We use it and then store it. Or sometimes I will set it up as a station for them to explore on their own.

Baseline Assessment Resource

MGT provides this tool which can be used in correspondence with marked exercises in the teacher guide on an ongoing basis to assess each child's scale. The purpose of assessment here is aimed at the teacher rather than the child. By monitoring each child's starting skills and growth a teacher can cater the curriculum to expanding each child's skills as well as mark improvement on those skills. It's a starting point and a root system for further growth. Here's a snap shot of what it looks like. I will feature a blog later on that shows how we use it and how it is working for us.





Disclosure: I receive Mother Goose Time Curriculum free of charge for educational purposes in return for posting my honest experiences using the curriculum. Photos of children featured on my blog for review of Mother Goose Time are used with signed consent of the child's parents. I welcome any questions or concerns.



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