Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Free Pre-School Curriculum

I hope you can benefit from my research and its collation to produce a curriculum that fits in with everyday life, and is presentable to education welfare as proof of educational provision.

See this post for activities and resources that I find most helpful.

I find that for this curriculum to work, I do not have to plan and structure beyond if siblings are scheduled maths, then tot sits with playing cards or buttons or Numtum colouring sheets for at least 10-15 minutes, then goes off to play or look at picture books as is tot's wont.  Things like crafts, and so using scissors and junk modelling, is an activity the children all often choose to do in their own time so does not require scheduling into the timetable.

You can simply adjust things such as the rhyme/story times to insert any groups you attend (although these are run nation-wide at public libraries) such as toddler groups or your own visits to the library/children's centres etc.

Free Pre-school Curriculum

Food Waste Week: Bread

Ok, I know I have already posted ideas on food waste. But this morning, I was faced with an article claiming that the Office for National Statistics found that 1 in 5 households in the UK waste a whole loaf of bread every week.  There is a poem that springs immediately to mind.  It comes from one of my favourite kitchen books, More with Less Cookbook edited by Doris Longacre.

Be gentle 
when you touch bread.
Let it not lie
     uncared for, unwanted
So often bread
is taken for granted.
There is so much beauty
     in bread -
Beauty of sun and soil,
Beauty of patient toil.
Winds and rains have caressed it
     Christ often blessed it.
Be gentle
     when you touch bread.
 - Author unknown

Perhaps this bread the ONC calls attention to is often the stuff in which the figurative or literal blood and sweat that has gone into it's creation is hidden; someone else has done the work.  Perhaps in these cases, the thinking is... well £1.50 (max) vs. actually doing something with it....?

My first suggestion, in cases of homemade or bought, is prevention vs. cure: Put your bread straight into the freezer.  If you can get into the habit of slicing it and then storing it in the freezer immediately after it is made/brought home then there is no chance of it languishing in the cupboard and being forgotten about until it is too late and breeding its own green fluffy ecosystem.  It really only takes minutes for an individual slice to thaw, less if you butter up and add the filling as this speeds up the thawing.  You can make up sandwiches from frozen bread in the morning, and they will certainly have thawed by lunch time, having the bonus of keeping your filling chilled.

Look out for recipes and more ideas during the week....

Please feel free to share any tips you have for combatting bread waste...

Friday, 18 September 2015

Root Beer Ginger Cake and Cleaning the Bathroom

Ginger Cake, Gingerbread... whatever... it's yummy!
Last weekend, we had an American Football party to watch the first game of the season (husband is a big fan and now the kids love it.)  This basically meant junk food to eat. I did, however, warn them not to expect it every week!  We had sorta-ribs, chicken dippers, homemade cheese dip and sour cream dip, tortilla chips, BBQ pretzels, baby corn and sugar snaps, homemade cookie dough ice cream, and gave root beer a try for the first time... Once I got over the Savlon/Germolene flavour of root beer, it became quite a nice drink that especially works with spicy food (perhaps that's the numbing anti-septic cream type effect at work...)  Two of the kids really didn't like the root beer so the next morning I had two opened almost-full cans.

Realising the same principle as applies to cola should be so with root beer, I used one of the leftover cans to clean the toilet bowl. Wow it sparkled!  Same effect as using soda crystals (sodium carbonate) that I would normally use, but less powder and somehow really satisfying to be cleaning it with pop. (edited to add: it brought the bathroom sink up a treat too!)

It was equally satisfying to pour the same ingredient I successfully cleaned a toilet with into a cake that turned out just as, if not more so, successful.  It really felt gloriously trashy to pour a can of pop into cake batter and did not quite expect the gorgeous moist beautifully flavoured gingerbread above.  I am afraid I still call all ginger cakes "gingerbread" due to early indoctrination and so now so do my kids.  Either way... point is... the ointment hit is dulled and leaves an ever so slight sarsaparilla element which gives this such an old-fashioned flavouring when mixed with the warm ginger and spicy cinnamon.  It also has the advantage a standard gingerbread has in that it gets moister as it matures over a few days to give that traditional sticky texture.  Even though it is great as it is with a cup of tea, coffee or milk after a meal, it is great with ice cream or custard as a proper pud too -you could reheat the slices if you want to do the latter but it works fine straight from the cupboard too.

Anyway, here is what we did:

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Pre-School Curriculum Activities

Happy Autumn!

The air here really has gathered a cooler damper chill, particularly in the mornings.  I love it.  I am always ready for the new season by the time it comes around.  (By ready I mean I am glad for it, not necessarily practically organised!)

We have simplified our timetable for this term.  This not only helps me, but it means that my older ones are able to organise themselves more.  I have put the timetable on display so that the kids can take responsibility for themselves and know that, for example, get maths out now and continue until 11 every morning before moving onto writing.  Making days have the same structure as much as possible makes it easier for them to remember and follow - less time with everyone bumbling about looking for what they should be doing and waiting for me to instruct each individual through every step.

My tot is now of an age where if being cared for in nursery or by a childminder, a curriculum would be required.  For home ed council inspections, I figured I should draw one up.  It turned out to be an interesting task to research the national curriculum and milestones for tot's age, because it turns out that it is what I, and I would imagine most involved parents with common sense, have been doing anyway.  It meant the curriculum involved drawing up things we already do.   It has been good to read other blogs on this, such as Proverbs31Woman's preschool curriculum, for new ideas too.  In the spirit of this I thought I would share some activities that we enjoy in our house (and look out for the upcoming curriculum - edited to add, free pre-school curriculum now posted here):