Meet Playing Preschool: the best homeschool preschool curriculum. Playing Preschool provides families with a new way to do preschool at home using a hands-on, play-based method of learning. This simple program helps make homeschool preschool successful with in-depth guidance and step-by-step lesson plans.
What are you teaching your child today?
Do you ever wish you had a blueprint for what to do with your preschooler each day?
What if someone could tell you what to teach, which books to read, what conversations to have, and which activities to try?
No more flying by the seat of your pants.No more making it up as you go.No more worrying your child isn’t learning.
Your answer is here: Welcome to Playing Preschool.
What is Playing Preschool?
Playing Preschool was written by me (Susie Allison) the creator of the 2 million follower Instagram account, Busy Toddler. I was a kindergarten and first grade teacher and I have a Master’s in Early Childhood Education. Playing Preschool has been a best selling preschool curriculum since it was released in 2017.
Meet Playing Preschool: the best homeschool preschool curriculum that will change the way you think about early childhood education.
Each year of Playing Preschool includes 190 days of lessons, broken into 19 units of homeschool preschool. That’s five pre-planned lessons each week for 38 weeks, just like traditional school. This is preschool made easy: sequenced, hands-on activities in a simple daily lesson plan. Playing Preschool combines reading, math, science, and art into a curriculum that’s as fun and entertaining as it is educational.
Even better? Playing Preschool comes without the pressure, commitment, or financial burden of traditional preschool.
Exploring the Targeted Skills in Playing Preschool
Playing Preschool Years 1 & 2 introduces children to a variety of topics and skills, specifically selected to form a foundation for future learning. These foundational learning skills build background knowledge and experiences to support developing brains.
Rather than focusing on memorization, the emphasis is on phonemic awareness, growing deep relationships with the alphabet, and seeing letters as building blocks of words.
The curriculum targets comprehension skills aimed at helping kids understand what has been read through predicting, classifying, and answering questions.
Playing Preschool takes number sense beyond counting and explores quantity, subitizing, joining numbers, and understanding the ways numbers are used.
In addition to number sense, Playing Preschool explores other important mathematical concepts like graphing, measuring, sorting, geometry, and patterns.
Recall & Retell
Understanding how to recall information and retell it in sequence is used across school subjects, from writing to reading to science. Playing Preschool develops this skill.
Playing Preschool allows children space to develop a variety of skills that will be used throughout their life, such as pouring, scooping, measuring, and gluing.
Playing Preschool Focuses on Experience and Exposure.
Playing Preschool introduces topics that will support your child’s overall knowledge and development, such as exploring the five senses, understanding relationships in systems, and even grasping the plant life cycle.
A primary goal of Playing Preschool is to build your child’s background knowledge and broaden their foundation for learning. Playing Preschool exposes kids to various ideas and skills that will stay with them throughout their lives. As children develop skills in language patterns, numeracy, and phonemic awareness, they’re also building lifelong knowledge about types of weather, properties of matter, and animal classifications.
It is critical for children to learn about the world around them in addition to school-based skills like number sense and letter recognition. Playing Preschool emphasizes this balance.
An Overview of the Preschool Program
Each year of Playing Preschool consists of 19 units spanning 38 weeks, 26 alphabet letters, and 190 days.
Playing Preschool Years 1 & 2 are built upon 19 thematic units, with each unit lasting for two weeks. A homeschool preschool day in the Playing Preschool program includes two simple activities, suggested picture books to complement the theme, and questions to ask your child to prompt meaningful conversations.
But these are not traditional activities or complicated lesson plans.
They are highly engaging.
They are easy to set up.
They use minimal supplies.
You’ll also find weekly overviews and daily lesson plans in this 300+ page program. These are lessons written and scripted to help you find confidence and success at teaching.
They are structured: Each day follows a predictable pattern.
They are planned: Every day is mapped out for you.
They are sequential: These aren’t random activities. The skills in each lesson grow and develop along with your child.
In addition to the actual curriculum, Year 1 includes a 20+ page “Start-Up Guide” where you’ll receive relevant background to understand how Playing Preschool works and get you ready to teach it to your kids. Year 2 includes a 20+ page “Introduction to Learning Guide” where you’ll get information on teaching the program, school readiness support, and additional teaching strategies.
“Thank you for a program that values the individual development of kids and shows such HONOR to the work they are capable of, while never pushing them in ways they’re not ready for. I have three munchkins under 5 and I also love that this curriculum is something I can have the 2 year old join in with and also do with a baby on my hip.” –Sara, Mom to 3 kids under 5
Unit Themes for Playing Preschool
A Look Inside the Program
The thoughtful creation and design make Playing Preschool stand out over other homeschool preschool programs that lack details to adequately support parents in their teaching. Whether you’ve taught before or not, Playing Preschool is designed to help you succeed.
Each year is broken into 19 units.
Each unit is two weeks long.
Each week is five days of learning activities.
“Susie, you have allowed me to not get discouraged by other homeschool preschool programs, handouts, print outs, curriculum etc. You spell everything out so easily and make homeschooling young children fun versus daunting! I was able to start this just a few weeks after moving and it doesn’t feel overwhelming at all.” -Kristin, Mom to a 3.5 year old and 2 year old
A Different Kind of Homeschool Preschool
Playing Preschool is not a traditional homeschool preschool curriculum.
This program was designed to be something you can do quickly – each day should only take 45 minutes to 1 hour to complete. Don’t have time for that? Break it up into small increments throughout the day (the program is flexible!)
Playing Preschool can be done with an older child while your baby naps. It can be done with a baby on your hip. It can be done all throughout the day in short 5-minute bursts. It can be done in a playroom, in a school room, or on the floor of your family room.
It can also be done with more than one of your children at the same time. Playing Preschool works for siblings of varying ages and developmental levels. Its flexible nature will easily meet your family’s needs.
Here is What a Typical Day in Playing Preschool Looks Like:
- Start each day with a morning calendar routine, selected song, and poem.
- Read a book perfectly paired with the unit’s theme.
- Have a conversation about the book and the theme, guided by specific questions and discussion prompts.
- Complete an activity together designed to target a specific skill.
- Set up a quick & easy themed activity that the child can typically work through independently.
Playing Preschool is built on routines. Each day follows this order of events to help give confidence to you as the teacher and to the child as the student. Kids thrive on routine. Having a predictable daily routine only adds to the success of Playing Preschool.
“Playing Preschool works. When I say “works” I don’t just mean it’s an effective teaching method (it is absolutely is), I also mean it works for US—it’s doable, it’s manageable, it’s ENJOYABLE! I taught preschool for 8 years before becoming a stay at home mom—I wanted to teach my own children, but I didn’t want it to be a chore for me— this has made it so easy and fun. I have seen so much growth in my kids development since starting this program, but it has also helped us develop a daily rhythm and provided a framework for our day that has been invaluable to me.” -Serenity, Mom to a 4 year old
What Age is Playing Preschool For?
Playing Preschool Year 1 is for children between the ages of two and a half and five years old. Some children will be ready for this step in learning at the younger end of this age range, while others not until they are older. You are the best person to determine when your child is ready to begin Playing Preschool.
Playing Preschool is incredibly open-ended, designed to meet the needs of a wide range of children. When I wrote Year 1, my kids were two and a half and four years old. Both of my children loved these activities, and both of them learned so much from this program.
Lessons also come with extensions and “add-ons” to lessons, making it simple for you to bump up the challenge level if you think your child is ready for more.
A Note on Year 2
When you start the second year of Playing Preschool, the skills pick up right where you and your child left off. Like in Year 1, the skills continue to grow and increase in complexity as your child develops.
You should not begin Year 2 until and unless you have completed Year 1.
Playing Preschool Year 2 is built on knowledge learned in Year 1, and these aren’t easy concepts like memorizing letter names or counting to 10. These are concepts including how to sequence events, classify data, use a ten-frame, measure with non-standard instruments, and predict events in a story.
“My child knows the alphabet. Is this program right for them?”
In Playing Preschool Years 1 & 2, we move beyond memorization.
We want kids to understand letters as a building block and tool for reading, to see letters in the world around them, and to form a knowledge base for when they are ready to read. We want our kids to truly know and understand letters. There is a large emphasis in both Year 1 and Year 2 on building phonemic awareness, the ability to hear, manipulate, and identify sounds, which is a critical skill that directly impacts a child’s future reading success.
Alphabet knowledge continues to grow and develop in children throughout early elementary school. The process of “learning letters” cannot stop in preschool.
“What about numbers? My kid knows how to count!”
There’s more to numbers than counting, and number sense skills develop throughout a child’s life (high school algebra is still number sense!).
Numeracy is about understanding value, joining numbers together, comparing numbers, and recognizing numbers in various arrangements. We dig deep with numbers in Playing Preschool. Throughout the program, children will use numbers, create with them, explore their purpose, and expand their understanding of how numbers interact in our world.
This is more than how high a child can count because math is more than just numbers: Playing Preschool lessons focus on measurement, capacity, graphing, and geometry as well.
A Reminder About the Learning Process
Repetition and practice are a good thing.
LeBron James still goes to practice each day and takes simple shots, despite being the best player in the NBA.
Another way to think about learning? When kids learn to ride a two-wheeled bike, we don’t put the bike away and say, “Good job mastering that skill, now let’s learn something else!” Can you even imagine? That’s what learning the alphabet and numbers is like in these early years. We must keep practicing and building upon these skills.
“I have a toddler (2 1/2) and a baby (6 mo.) and I originally bought the program to have something to do with my oldest. I had looked at Pinterest a million times but often forgot to check it or got overwhelmed by putting things together. Your program is what I wish I could have done myself! I feel so much better equipped to teach my daughter and communicate with her. This program has proved to be a wonderful balance between wanting to teach her academic concepts and letting her learn her best way.” -Brooke, Mom to a 2.5 year old and 6 month old
The Sequence of Playing Preschool
he units in Playing Preschool are sequenced, with each building in complexity as the program unfolds. These aren’t random activities set at a random point in time.
Playing Preschool follows a clear line of progression:
Skills build and grow, just as your child’s knowledge level builds and grows.
This is a unique feature of Playing Preschool not found in other homeschool preschool options. The lessons grow with your child.
For example, in Year 1, Unit 1, math activities focus on numbers 1-5. By Unit 19, activities focus on numbers 1-12 and how to join groups of objects together. This is all part of the thoughtfully designed scope and sequence of Playing Preschool. Unit 19 activities are a lot more challenging than Unit 1 activities – and they should be.
Playing Preschool is “Evergreen”
Playing Preschool does not follow a calendar, season, religion, or hemisphere. This is a secular preschool program that you can begin whenever your child is ready – whether that is in the fall, after the new year, or even in the middle of April.
Many families start Playing Preschool at the beginning of a traditional school year.
Many families begin in January after the new year.
Many families wait until spring for kindergarten readiness.
“I purchased Playing Preschool year 1 for my son (4 years old, now 5). My son as autism spectrum disorder and ADHD so although he goes to kindergarten four days a week I wanted some ideas to help boost his learning and the hands on activities are fantastic for that (as is a good sensory bin).” -Amy, Mom to a 5 year old
“My kids are 4 years and 21 months old and I love that Playing Preschool can be adapted for different ages! It’s great to have them work on fun activities and learn valuable skills at the same time.” -Allison, Mom to a 4 year old and a 21 month old
Playing Preschool is Not Just for Homeschool Families
Playing Preschool is uniquely created to support both homeschooling families and traditional schooling families.
As a former kindergarten and first-grade teacher, I packed Playing Preschool full of the skills and learning I know will support children as they enter the school system. I considered my former students and thought critically about how to build a foundation of knowledge to help kids be successful in kindergarten and beyond.
I designed Playing Preschool as a stepping stone both for children entering a traditional schooling program for kindergarten and for those moving to a homeschool model. Playing Preschool supports all.
This is a Doable Homeschool Preschool Program
Playing Preschool is not overwhelming.
When you pare it down, you will be reading a picture book and engaging in a few activities each day with your child. The important piece to remember is that these activities aren’t random. They’re presented in a thoughtful, sequenced design within dynamic, thematic units.
And just think: you’ll know what you’re doing each day for the next nine months, and another nine months after that with Year 2. That’s two full school years’ worth of learning, routine, and fun at your fingertips.
It’s time to transform your child’s preschool days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Preschool is a relatively new concept to American schools… and the idea of doing multiple years of preschool is even newer. The goal of preschool (any preschool) is to expand a child’s knowledge base and continue their skill building. As a former kindergarten teacher, I can attest to what a mixed bag kindergarten is: some kids from daycare, some competitive preschool, some from co-op, homeschool, or no schooling. It was often hard to tell which kids came from which schooling background into kindergarten.
That depends. If your child’s needs are being met through a daycare or other preschool setting, then you probably don’t need an additional homeschool program. Enjoy your time together after work. Let them play. Read to them. Enjoy conversations. But, if this is really on your heart, your struggling with a routine during non-working hours then this may be a good fit. I encourage you to try Unit 1 for free and see if it works before purchasing.
I do not. The cheapest way for me to offer this to families, and make it accessible around the world, is to keep the program as an ebook. You’ll receive the files via email. You are absolutely permitted to print one copy of Playing Preschool (and directions for printing can be found here).
First, I have an entire FAQ page dedicated to Playing Preschool. Second, email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please! I’d love to help you with any questions you may have.
Susie Allison, M. Ed
Susie Allison is the creator of Busy Toddler and has more than 2 million followers on Instagram. A former teacher and early childhood education advocate, Susie’s parenting book “Busy Toddler’s Guide to Actual Parenting” is available on Amazon.
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