I cannot believe that we are almost half way through September but I am so so so so so so glad!
I have learned over the long summer holidays that I am a creature of habit, a fan of routine and so I know now that a weekly plan of action is essential not only for my children but also for me.
I am a fan of routine. I like to have a plan. I enjoy planning almost as much as I enjoy doing. Is that a bit wierd?
For the last few weeks I have been planning, replanning and refining our autumn timetable.
Living by school terms this is our plan for the rest of Term 1.
Monday = Fun Train
Fun Train is a wonderful class for babies and toddlers from 12 months. It is run by one of the loveliest people I know, Peggy, who is so kind, so patient and so understanding. She always helps me with my brood. Esther and William are very fond of Peggy and her class is such a wonderful way to start our week.
Fun Train is 45 minutes of singing, dancing, musical instruments, puppets and props. The songs are all well known children’s songs that can be enjoyed in class, at home and in the car.
Esther and William love watching Peggy and over the months we have been going to this class they have become more confident with joining in.
Fun Train helps to develop their language and listening skills and fosters a love of music.
As a mummy I love that my children are praised by Peggy for their contributions. The classes encourage good manners and behaviour while allowing toddlers the freedom that they need to roam, safely, around the class. In the car to class we practise saying ‘Hello Peggy’ and ‘Thank you Peggy.’ They know to say thank you at the end for their stickers but at the moment they never do!!
Peggy and Fun Train will be a part of our lives for the year ahead and perhaps for another year for Matilda Mae.
Tuesday = Local Toddler Group
On this day we support our local toddler group in the hope that we might all make some friends in the village that we live. Sadly it is not looking promising so far as there were only two other children there each time we have been. We are going to keep attending until Esther and William start at their preschool next term.
Wednesday = Jumping Beans
Jumping Beans is new for us but I wish we had started it months ago as Esther, William and now Matilda absolutely love it and so do I.
This class has made Esther and William determined to become good jumpers. They love to practise the skills they learn in class including balancing bean bags, imaginative role play and, of course, jumping.
It is because of Jumping Beans that Esther and William now say ‘My name is Esther / William and I am two!’
This term we are very lucky to have my Aunty Carolyn coming to classes with us, to support me as well as the children. This makes enjoying the classes and getting the best from them much easier.
At each class for 1 – 3 year olds the children experience
•Development of participation skills and self confidence by receiving individual attention in a group environment.
•Learning different steps and movements as a basis for later physical activity.
•A lively section of group imaginary play, including songs and rhymes for added enjoyment.
•A huge variety of colourful equipment used in both structured play and freetime including balls, hoops, tunnels, slides and parachutes
•Encouragement to learn new skills such as balancing, counting, throwing and catching, colour sorting etc.
At the start of the session the children sort coloured brean bags into buckets and Esther and William love it. I think they would do it for hours if I had the resources at home!
Here Matilda experiences the following
•An environment created to expose your child to a variety of tactile experiences, to enable learning through touch and visual awareness.
•Gentle exercises to help your baby to progress from the reflex movements present at birth to voluntary movements necessary for crawling, walking, balancing, etc.
•Activities to give your baby the opportunity to integrate the brain, inner ear, eyes and muscles together, in the search for balance.
•A chance to relax and chat, to catch up on news, discuss child-related issues and to form supportive relationships with other parents.
•Simple action songs and rhymes to help develop a sense of rhythm and pleasure from music.
This week was the first time we had stayed for the baby class and I was so proud of how Esther and William behaved while they waited. William liked copying what I did to Matilda with a toy baby and Esther liked me to do to her what I did to Matilda. It worked having them there mostly because of my wondeful Aunty Carolyn but also because the Jumping Beans team are so very good and understanding.
We love Jumping Beans and will continue to go to this class until the children are 5. Once they turn 3 Esther and William will go on their own to the third level class to develop their skills independently. I think this kind of progression is a wonderful idea and helps to prepare the children for school.
Thursday = Baby and Toddler Group
Today we went to a local Children’s Centre for a baby and toddler group and Esther and William loved it. The staff were so friendly and the resources were brilliant. We will definitely be going back here each week until preschool begins for them next term. William did some wonderful painting today and Esther did lots of climbing and sliding. There was something for each of them to do and a peaceful baby corner for Matilda Mae too.
Friday = Messy Play / Twins Club / Michele
Fridays are our busiest day. We leave the house before 9 to head out to Messy Play at a local Children’s Centre.
Once we have made a mess we head to Maidstone Twins Club to meet with other families as busy as ours and that is before a lovely afternoon with my best friend and the children’s Godmother, Michele.
Every Friday Michele comes and we unwind from the week. It is lovely having her visit to look forward to each week. Esther and William adore Michele and her son Edward, who they do not get to see as much as they would like as he has to go to school.
Our Friday afternoon’s are lovely. A wonderful way to end our weeks.
Next week I am going to start writing a review of our week so you can know how we are getting along now that we are back to our old, yet new, routine.