Although I believe strongly that children should be taught as much as possible, as young as possible, I also believe this teaching should take place in a fun and non-pressured environment. I have never set my children down to learn their colors, numbers, or shapes. They pick those up pretty easily in day to day life. Once in a while we do traditional "preschool" activities because they are fun, but not because I think they are necessary.
Because young children absorb things so easily, it makes sense to include them whenever possible while you are teaching the older children. It also solves the problem of "what to do with the little ones" during school hours. However, it is also good to have some alternatives for the times when it won't work to include them.
Some of the solutions we have come up with are:
1. Take advantage of nap times.
2. Have the older children take turns entertaining the younger ones while you give one-on-one attention to your older students.
3. Teach the little ones to sit quietly for short periods of time and read or color.
4. Have special toys and activities prepared which the little ones can only use during these times.
5. Place them in a safe area (a playpen or their bedroom which is closed off with a baby gate) and allow them to play by themselves while you work with the others.
6. Give them a snack (or scatter cereal or chocolate chips on the floor for a scavenger hunt- they eat off the floor when you aren't watching anyway)
|Sometimes, the baby is the lesson|