I wasn’t planning to start this quite this early, but Caleb has had a great deal of interest in knowing what day it is and learning the days of the week. We’ve been singing the Days of the Week song to the tune of The Adams Family which he thinks is very funny. We talk to him about things that are happening today and what is coming up on different days later in the week. It’s hard to really explain what a day is since it is abstract, but I can see the wheels turning as he’s trying to wrap his brain around it.
He has learned that when the sun comes up it is day-time and he reminds of every morning as he runs to our bed to wake us up at first light shouting, “It’s day-time!” He understands that when it gets dark and we see the moon and the stars on most nights, “It’s night-time!” He is beginning to learn that different days have names and has attached a few routine activities to those days like that on Sunday we go to church.
Since he has had so much interest in this topic, I decided to begin a short Calendar lesson with him each morning. I’m keeping the lessons short as I don’t want to bore him and turn him of from learning more about it.
Below are the concepts/activities I’m focusing on right now:
* Months of the year names: We sing a song.
* Days of the week names: We sing a song.
* Counting: We count up to the number of the date.
•AB Patterning: I have cut out diamonds and rectangles of the same color and placed them in a bag. I chose these shapes because he has not mastered them yet, but is familiar with them. Each day we place a shape on the box of the date for that day in diamond-rectangle order. I have him say the pattern order aloud.
•Today is… : Based on his engagement in the activity for the day, we will talk about what is the name of the day and what we plan to do that day.
As long as his interest stays strong in this activity, I plan to slowly add new concepts one at a time as he masters ones we have been working on. I don’t plan to take any away, but I might change them up to keep his interest high so he doesn’t get bored with this learning time.
Some concepts/activities I will introduce later include:
* Say the whole date for that day: I have written the year on the calendar already, but we haven’t explained it because he’s not ready yet. When he is, each day we will say, “Today is… January 1, 2014.”
* Identifying his birthday month: As we sing the Months of the Year song, I will have him jump up and shout his birthday month.
* Increase challenge of AB pattern: I will begin asking him which shape comes next, what shape will Thursday be, what will be the next 2 shapes.
* Introduce more complex patterns: Once he masters AB patterning with different shapes and objects, I will change the pattern to AAB, ABB, AABB, ABC and so on.
* Once he has learned to count well, at the end of the month, we will start taking off the pattern shapes counting backwards.
* Calendar parts: I will ask him to show me where the month is written on the calendar, where the days of the week are, where the year is written, how many Saturdays there are this month.
These are some of the skills I taught my kindergarteners in the classroom. Obviously, we have a few more years before I start challenging him with these questions, but I wanted to put them out there as they might give you some ideas of how to help your child understand and use a calendar.
God bless our learning days all year through!