I've never written a curriculum for a 2-year-old, but I was a high school teacher for 7 years. Because of that, I am familiar with how to plan a month of lessons, activities, projects, assessments, and I know what a curriculum looks like (for high schoolers anyway).
I used my basic knowledge of scheduling and planning to put together some ideas for this month. I have some primary objectives for Alexander, but since I've never worked with a 2-year-old and can't see the future, they are simply a loose guideline. I've also got no one to compare him to, which is a good thing at this age. No need to get all uptight about meeting certain standards. He's learning, and he's having fun, and that is the main objective.
All that said, I use the word "curriculum" very casually. If you're looking for a professional curriculum, you'll want to look elsewhere! This is a general guide that we'll be following, that may give you some ideas.
NOVEMBER 2015 CURRICULUM Topics: Animals, Numbers Timeline: 4 weeks
Objectives: (Some of them have an asterisk. Those are the ones I think will be more challenging.)
- Identify at least 5 more animals.
- Learn terms for animal body parts and relate them to human body parts.
- Separate fruits and vegetables, meats, and nuts.*
- Identify which animals are carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores.*
- Learn about teeth.
- Count to 20.*
- Trace the numbers 1 through 10.
- Write the numbers 1 through 10.*
- Identify the quantities 1 through 10.
Objective 1: Identify at least 5 more animals by picture.
So far, Alexander can identify about 25 animals. I would like to expose him to a few more that he does not know. I've considered a lot, but I want to find 5-10 animals that are somehow related. Here are some that have come to mind:
I want to consider animals that are pretty distinctive. For example, I would not show him an ostrich and an emu because they are too similar.
ACTIVITY (science): Once I pick the 5-10 animals that are related, I will create some animal flash cards to accompany them. It may be worth my while to find animals that would be in the same exhibit at a zoo.
ACTIVITY (practical life, science): Visit the Zoo Atlanta or a local farm. Practice animal sounds on the drive to the zoo so that he can interact and be a part of the experience. (In the past, trips to the zoo have been pretty boring for him, or at least he never seemed interested.)
Objective 2: Learn terms for animal body parts and relate them to human body parts.
While we have feet, some animals have paws, claws, and hoofs. We have noses, but some animals have snouts or a trunk. I want to learn some of that terminology and teach those words to Alexander.
ACTIVITY (science): We'll start with a piece of paper that shows the face and body of an animal. I'll see if Alexander can point to the animal's NOSE, for example. He'll most likely be able to. Then I'll say, "This is a pig. His nose is called a SNOUT. Can you say SNOUT?" He'll give it a shot. And we'll keep going for a few different animals.
ACTIVITY (science): We will play a game. I will say, "Pretend that mommy is a pig. Where is mommy's SNOUT?" And he would have to touch my nose. This may be a challenge because I'm not sure if he knows how to play pretend just yet. If that idea is successful, then we can play a similar game where Alexander is the animal, and I'll ask him to point to a particular animal body part.
Objective 3: Separate fruits and vegetables, meats, and nuts.
Alexander is definitely capable of identifying some fruits and vegetables that we eat regularly. He would probably be able to identify nuts and some meats. For the meats, I would use an image of a cow and state that a cow is where beef comes from (instead of a picture of ground beef). I think it's important that he understands that some things that we eat are parts of animals. (If you are vegan/vegetarian, I apologize if this makes you uncomfortable!)
ACTIVITY (sensorial): We'll do a pantry and refrigerator raid. We'll go through the foods we have in our house. He can identify specific fruits and vegetables, but I want to see if he can say "fruit" or "vegetable" or "meat" and so on. Nuts and grains are lumped together for this activity.
ACTIVITY: Grocery store advertisements are filled with pictures of foods. Each week, we get at least one flyer/coupon book from a grocery store. I will start to stockpile them for this activity. I will cut out the various fruits, vegetables, meats, and grains/nuts. (I will also tape them to a sheet of white paper and laminate them.) I'll have Alexander separate them by fruits, vegetables, meats, and grains.
Objective 4: Identify which animals are carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores.
I imagine this will be fun if he picks up on the idea quickly. Once I feel like he has a good grasp of objective 3, I want to talk with him about carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores. He will learn that we (our family) are omnivores because we eat fruits, vegetables, meats, and grains/nuts. Some animals (and people) only eat grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables, and those animals are called herbivores. And some animals only eat meats: they are called carnivores.
Since we have a good selection of printed animal cards - and I plan to purchase another set of animal figurines this month - I will be able to teach Alexander which animals have which types of diets. If he understands the distinction, then we will do an activity.
ACTIVITY (science): I will use the food flash cards (from objective 3). I'll put a few food items in front of Alexander and ask him which animal might eat those foods. If that is completely too advanced, I will guide him. For example, I will say, "Which foods do you see here? Yes, ____ and ____ are fruits. And ____ is meat. We know that omnivores eat fruit and meat. Which animal is an omnivore?" And he may be able to identify that.
Objective 5: Learn about teeth.
It's possible that Alexander will get his last 4 teeth this month. If that happens, he will have 20 teeth, which is perfect for the next objective. If not, we can still learn about teeth.
One thing I want to point out is that some teeth are flat (molars) and some are sharp (canines). Some of them help to cut off a bite, and others help to chew the food. I want to talk about how different animals have certain types of teeth. (And a shark has a lot more than we do!) If he understood the carnivore, herbivore, omnivore terms, then I may link types of teeth back to certain types of diets.
ACTIVITY (sensorial, science, math): We will stand in front of a mirror and count our teeth.
ACTIVITY (sensorial, science): We will have a snack. When we take a bite, we will look at the marks that our teeth made on the food. Depending on the food, we will be able to count the teeth marks.
Objective 6: Count to 20. (math)
Alexander can count to 13 consistently. But after 13, they all sound the same, and he usually gives up around 17.
I want to see if he can practice making it to 20!
Objective 7: Trace the numbers 1 through 10.
We have started this objective already (see here).
ACTIVITY (math, fine motor skills): We will continue to practice tracing the numbers 1 through 10. I saw a set of tracing cards online that were better than the ones we have. They've got arrows helping to direct your pen strokes. I will continue to demonstrate this skill and have Alexander copy me. Since he enjoys it, I imagine we'll do this activity most days.
Objective 8: Write the numbers 1 through 10. (math, writing)
I don't want to set lofty goals, but I want to assume that it is possible that Alexander will get confident with tracing his numbers. If that happens, we will practice writing them on plain paper. (This skill may not develop for another year. I have no idea!)
Objective 9: Identify the quantities 1 through 10.
For whatever reason, Alexander is not very interested in quantity. If I display 4 objects and ask him "how many?", he will just ignore me. If I ask him to count the objects, though, he will count 1-2-3-4. I know he understands that there are 4 objects, but actually stating that there are 4 of them (without counting) is proving difficult, or maybe just boring. Also, past 5, he gets distracted and sloppy with the counting.
I feel like looking at a quantity and seeing the quantity (as opposed to counting up to it) is a skill in itself. I would like to continue practicing this with him this month. If he shows no interest, we will move on, as we always do.
ACTIVITY (math, fine motor skills): I have a set of lollipop sticks and a set of number cards. I'll display a number card and ask Alexander to place that many sticks on the card.
ACTIVITY (math): I will place a certain number of sticks on his table. Then I will ask Alexander to place the correct number card next to the sticks. If that instruction does not make sense, I will simply ask him to tell him how many sticks are on the table.
In addition to the activities above, I know that we will continue with pouring, color matching, puzzles, letter matching, and more. There are a lot of things he enjoys, so I don't want to take those away.
The activities above are just plans and ideas.
At the end of the month, I anticipate that I will go back through this post then create a new post with links to specific videos, printables, and activities that we actually did!