When my first daughter was born seven years ago I was full of joy…and completely clueless. I had taught full-time for two years, worked for many years with children in our church, and had countless hours of babysitting experience — all with older children. I was an only child and the youngest of my cousins, so I was never around babies in my family and felt rather intimidated by this squalling little creature God had blessed me with.
Flowering Baby is a full birth through preschool curriculum which gives parents a guide to make sure age appropriate skills are being addressed. The five separate levels (birth-one, one-two, two-three, three-four, and four-five) include cognitive skills, engaging activities, fine-motor skills, and enrichment appropriate to the age and presented in an easy-to-follow week-by-week guide. The curriculum comes as a pdf download or CD and costs between $30.00 and $38.00 per year or $132.00 for the entire 5-year program ($26.40 per year). I love any curriculum which comes as a pdf because I can use it on my Kindle Fire!
Although my youngest daughter is three I was impressed as I browsed through the younger years at the wonderful ideas and activities presented for this age. I particularly liked that each month included books to read even to the youngest babies. That is something we did with our daughters and they all three are avid readers!
I have been using the three to four-year-old level with Grace and she has loved the new activities! There are two parts to this level and the four-to-five-year-old level. The first part is a monthly curriculum guide. This guide includes a suggested list of books which correlate with different ares of discovery like color, part of the body, weather, and foods. A list of supplies for the month is also included. Following these lists are daily plans for 13 days of fun! Activities include sensory exploration, signing, and fine motor skills. Detailed instructions for each day are listed making this a truly open-and-go curriculum for our youngest learners!
Each month we explore a different style of music. This month was classical, one of my favorite genres! I listen to classical music a lot in the car with Grace and she calls it, “Mommy’s music”. The girls and I make up stories about what we imagine is happening as we listen to the melody. For one of the Flowering Baby activities Grace drew pictures while she listened. She drew several people and said, “Some are happy. Some are sad.” I asked her why and she said, “Because the music made them that way!” We were listening to a particular piece by Beethoven which did in fact change in mood from sad to happy. This was a fabulous way for Grace to experience music I had never thought of!
The second part is my favorite! Along with the monthly curriculum guide is a theme guide with suggested themes for each month. You can follow these suggestions, or do like we did and pick your own themes each month. I thought it might be fun to do a winter theme in the middle of summer and the summer theme during one of the cold winter months! Our favorite theme we studied was gardening.
Like the monthly guide each theme contains a list of suggested books and monthly supplies. Also included are field trip ideas and suggested websites for learning. I plan our garden for spring in January, so it was the perfect time for this theme! We read several books about gardens including Planting a Rainbow by Lois Elhert and Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. Grace loves books and this was a great way to introduce the theme!
Daily activities engaged Grace and immersed her in the gardening theme. She enjoyed investigating vegetables with a magnifying glass. We talked about the texture and color of each vegetable and for dinner we ate some of the same ones she investigated!
We also planted seeds for our garden this spring. We started four varieties of tomatoes, two kinds of peppers, gooseberries, huckleberries, wonderberries, and ground cherries. We’ll have much more we plant once the last frost date hits, but this is a great start!
If I wasn’t still recuperating from surgery at Christmas we would have made a field trip during our unit to the Butterfly House at our local children’s museum. Admission is free on Wednesday afternoons for county residents and we take advantage of that when we are able. This beautiful indoor garden is always a pleasant respite during the cold months of winter. Butterflies are everywhere and often will even sit on your finger! I really wanted to be able to go for a field trip, but I just wasn’t up to it. Instead we looked at pictures of our previous visits and talked about how much fun it was!