Ready–Made Preschool Seasonal ABC’s offers 30-week programs at two levels that make it super easy for parents to present a multi-sensory, activity-based program that incorporates real books. The unique feature of this curriculum is that it comes with almost all of your supplies ready to go, so you save a tremendous amount of time and energy acquiring and preparing materials. You still need to get the storybooks from the library or purchase them elsewhere. And there are some additional resources needed each week such as boxes, cooking ingredients, a hole punch, paper towel tube, bag of microwave popcorn, and grocery store ad flyers, but these should be easy to gather.
Lessons arranged as “weeks” are provided for four days each week in the teacher's guide for each level. Lessons address math, language arts, science, social studies, and Bible through stories and activity-based learning. Arts-and-crafts and cooking activities are not just busy work in this program but relate to the themes of each lesson. While Seasonal ABCs is not a heavily academic program, it does cover readiness activities such as geometric shapes, cutting with scissors (in Level 2), weather and temperature, community helpers, and much more in addition to pre-reading and pre-math. It also introduces children to some wonderful children’s literature.
A “story of the week” book is read aloud each day—the same book four days in row—with many activities that week relating to the story’s theme. Lessons are themed around the letter of the alphabet taught each week as well as subthemes from the storybooks. At the beginning of each week’s lessons is a chart showing what will be required for each day and a brief list of the activities. One column on the chart lists items you’ll need that are provided in the kit while the final column lists any items you will need to collect yourself. Lesson plans for each day explain each activity, sometimes even including a brief script for a parent to read or say to their child in their own words. At least two or three additional, optional storybooks are listed at the end of each lesson for those who want to use more read-aloud books.
Level 1 for children ages 3 and 4 introduces capital letters and their sounds, number identification and counting up to 10, and other concepts such as sequencing, patterning, opposites, and rhymes. At this level, children do crafts and activities with letters and numbers but are not expected to write them. One week is allotted to each letter of the alphabet. Along with 26 “weeks” of lessons for the 26 letters of the alphabet, there is an initial week that introduces the alphabet, an alphabet review week, and two weeks that teach numbers and counting.
Level 2 for ages 4 and 5 teaches lower case letters and the sounds of the letters as well as numbers and counting up to 20. Children learn to write letters and numbers in Level 2, although the amount of actual writing is minimal. Weeks are again themed around letters of the alphabet and storybooks with additional introductory and review weeks on the alphabet. Since children do much more work on numbers and introductory math within all of the other lessons, the two other weeks have the themes of Fall and Winter. Weeks 11 and 12 in both levels relate to Christmas, and week 22 in Level 2 and week 23 in Level 1 relate to Jesus’ death and resurrection, so you will want to watch where those weeks fall on your calendar and possibly make some adjustments.
Social studies and science are integrated but in a random fashion. Children might learn about the solar system and space when they learn about the letter “s” or about vegetables when they study the letter “v” or about firefighters when they study the letter “f.” Likewise, Bible lessons are sometimes a major element in a lesson and missing altogether in others. Bible content is very basic and generic, so it should work for all Christian denominations. However, some might want to skip the presentation of the salvation message and the sinner’s prayer, encouraging children to accept Jesus into their hearts in Level 2, week 22. The author recommends that you read to your child regularly from a children’s Bible, so the lessons are intended to supplement that reading rather than serves as comprehensive Bible curriculum.
There are lots of arts-and-crafts activities. The kit for each level includes supplies such as alphabet cards, tempera paints, paint brush, Do-A-Dot® Markers, a Do-A-Dot activity book, watercolors, glue stick, liquid glue, a spray bottle, and crayons. But the kits also have large envelopes covering groups of lessons with each envelope containing items such as large, dye-cut letters and shapes, pipe cleaners, foam shapes, craft sticks, glitter, dinosaur stickers, colored tissue paper (cut to size), “jewels,” and construction paper—most of the specialized items needed for those lessons. Gathering all of these resources on your own is so time-consuming that many parents just don’t do very many of these creative learning activities. Having all of this done for you makes it so much easier!
There is a free sample lesson for each level available on the publisher’s website so you can really see what the lessons involve. (It would be difficult to actually implement a sample lesson since you will be missing many of the resources and the general instructions that are found at the front of the book.)
I know that many busy moms will appreciate the convenience of Ready-Made Preschool Seasonal ABCs. So if you are looking for a comprehensive, activity-based preschool program that’s almost ready-to-go right out of the box you should enjoy this program.