Disclaimer: We received this product for review purposes. As always, we are not required to write a positive review. All opinions are honest and my own. This post may contain affiliated links.
The preschool age is a time of wonder and amazement. Your child is becoming aware of their surroundings and all the questions and wide-eye wonder, and yelps of excitement are really rewarding to watch. And if you shift your focus, just a bit, you will honestly “feel” the magic they experience in all things new to them.
Because of this amazing opportunity to review Oak Meadow’s Preschool Course: Seasons of Wonder, thats exactly what happened to our family; especially to me. I was reminded to stop looking at the time so much and enjoy the small and precious things.
What is Oak Meadow?
Oak Meadow has offered innovative, creative, and independent learning materials for homeschooling families around the world for 45 years.
Oak Meadow is an accredited homeschool program through the New England Association for Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Oak Meadow is the first distance learning school to earn accreditation in NEASC’s prestigious 130-year history. Just an FYI, NYC will not recognize this service.
Grade/Age: Geared towards ages 2-5 years but I feel like the sweet spot will be for 3-4 year olds.
Parent Involvement: Absolutely, as a matter of fact, older siblings can participate
Schedule/Lessons: The curriculum is broken down into seasons; Winter, Fall, Spring and Summer with an added category for Anytime.
Every month there is a seasonal themed “anchor” story (included in the book) followed by a wide variety of perfectly aged appropriate nature-based activities; verses (poems), songs, games, storytelling, cooking, exploring/observation (neighborhood walk/hikes), and crafts.
The “lessons” are short, extremely flexible, and adaptable to your own family’s routine. There are many sensory activities available, that can possibly be stretched over a two-year span.
Parent Resource: There is a ton of helpful guidance for the parents, links for daily rhythm inspiration, and additional craft ideas to truly customized this journey for your kids. Though, I do wish that the storyboard felt template was also accessible via PDF to make things easier for newbie felt users, like myself. Edited to add: Here is the free Preschool Play Cutout.
The appendix section is especially helpful. The entire crafts supplies list is provided for you. There’s also a project overview for the whole year based on season and material uses. Definitely useful for pre-planning and prepping.
Full disclosure: There is a selection of parenting books for self-education, that might be considered a bit outdated and suffers from a lack of diversity, amongst the authors, however, I do plan to pull the ideas that best suit my family.
Product Format: We received the entire Preschool Play coursebook with the accompanying storybooks and music CD. There is a digital copy of the course available for $52.00. (at the time of this post 4/22)
Further, there is an optional Craft Kit for $215. YOU WILL MOST DEFINITELY NEED CRAFT SUPPLIES, but you can search elsewhere and purchase at a lower cost. Personally, I had most items, except for felt, felt balls, Natural Earth paint, Kite Paper and Stockmar Wax Crayons. Recently #oakmeadow had a sale for National Crayon Day where they offered 10% off and free shipping for beeswax crayons. That’s when I splurged and ordered our first ever Stockmar Wax Crayons and , a Black Woman-Owned Company, All of Us Crayons.
Costs: The entire Seasons of Wonder Package costs $151. The preschool curriculum book cost $75. Although they are mentioned and suggested within the book, the music cd and readers are not needed for any of the activities.
Oak Meadow typically offers sales on curriculum materials in February and May. For information on sales and promotions, sign up for their email list or follow them on social media. Email list sign up.
How Will We Use It?
Perspective from a homeschooling mother with two older kids, 8 and 11 years old.
I love the idea of creating a routine, solely for my toddler, so we can both experience the joy of wonder through the eyes of a three-year-old. It’s sweet and it reminds me to slow things down to truly appreciate the beauty in the small things.
I do, however, have a loud and busy house so, I tend to be mindful for when we do certain things. The art projects and cooking activities, in my opinion, do take up the most time so I prefer to do those as a family activity AND during the afternoons. The beauty of Seasons of Wonder is I can weave the projects into our daily lives with few adjustments, cultivating a stronger bond between the siblings and without making the older two feel like babies.
I know, how can a program made for a three-year-old influence older kids? It did and it was through Oak Meadow’s projects. To my surprise, they connected with the playful things. So, including them hasn’t been as difficult as I thought.
So, how do I make this happen and cater to my preschooler’s needs, without going crazy?……. Make preschool time inclusive. I’ll give you a few examples:
- Include the big ones in the prep work; laying out the art craft materials and/cutting out the felt story pieces
- Invite them to participate in art projects with the option to enhance the art activities to match their own skills
- Include them in the cooking activities; actually, depending on your older kids’ maturity, you can have them be “sous chef” to Master Chef Toddler. – My kids watch lots of Netflix cooking shows, so they love this idea.
- They can listen in on the preschool reading – they enjoy the sweet stories while doing their own work or playing with some legos.
- Have them read to their younger sibling.
- Family hikes and nature walks
My daughter, 8, loves art and storytelling and she couldn’t wait to cut out felt characters. My son, 11, loves cooking. With the cooking projects here, he can easily lead and share the experience with his siblings.
Advice: Prep work is a must to succeed.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t solely focus on the three year old. I most definitely do. Right now, he needs my attention the most, so I have multiple (ready-at-hand) activities and his favorite books accessible to him. In my home, I try my best to give individual mommy and me time to each kid and they have to be aware and respectful of the other’s time with Mami. But in reality, it doesn’t always happen and I have to bunch them together.
Our Experience: Natural Rhythm and Mindset Adjustment
Although I have been homeschooling for the past several years, I’ve never embraced the slow-learning mentally. From Kindergarten up to now, it has been straight academic learning. Prior to that, they both went to public school including preschool and the earlier years, forget-about-it, are a blur.
Right now I have the opportunity to try a different approach with my last baby. To slow things down for him, to really look into those gorgeous wonder-filled eyes and explore his world through wholesome activities, and refocus our priorities back to reconnecting with one another through lots of love, kindness, and patience.
I have to EMBRACE slowing things down, a bit. I also have to be okay with not having a rigid minute-by-minute schedule. Ultimately, accepting that thing will take a bit longer to complete but it’s worth the peace, appreciation, and respect for one another.
Oak Meadow, which is Waldorf-inspired, really focuses on establishing a natural rhythm to benefit learning through the schooling years and will inevitably improve their own relationship with themselves and others. It suggests keeping an open mind about the time of day to do certain activities dependent on our children’s personalities.
Is it worth the price?
It is a personal choice. What do you value? I’ll be honest, when I initially saw this, I was skeptical. But after reading through the parent resources, working through the activities with my toddler, and noticing how eagerly the older ones want to be included, it definitely brings value to my home. I almost want another baby! Ha!
I was reminded that my three-year is just only three and it isn’t fair to him to always be a tag-along. And even though my older ones are 8 and 11, they still love and enjoy the simple playful things.
Further, the coursebook can absolutely be applied outside your home; i.e., in daycares, early childhood centers, co-ops, learning pods – basically where ever the babies are.
Wanna Know More?
I really hope this overview was helpful in at least one way. Please follow us on IG as I do plan to show our progress working through Seasons of Wonder with the kids.
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