So when Itty Bitty Bookworm approached me about a review, I was all ready to leap onto my horse yet again. Luckily I took a good long look first.
I'm not a trained pre-school teacher. I am a trained primary school teacher who taught Kindergarten for many years. I am also a mother - check the grey hairs! I am a passionate supporter of children's literature and literacy. While wearing those hats I took my long look at Itty Bitty Bookworm - and liked what I saw.
Itty Bitty Bookworm founder, Tara Rison, says, "The curriculum is designed for use by preschools. However, many families use it as well. They simply pick and choose the activities which best fit the needs of their particular children."
The Bailey Curriculum (children aged 18 - 36 months) is focused on story books, two story books per month. Let me hasten to reassure you, the program isn't advocating reading only two books a month to kids. Rather, the activities suggested are based around those two books. I don't feel qualified to judge how successful the curriculum would be in a pre-school setting, but this is what I liked:
There is no "pushing" of children to try to force them to learn developmentally inappropriate skills. Of course, who knows what individual parents will decide to do with the curriculum, but what I read was urging caregivers to encourage the child to explore, create, and play, rather than conform to some artificial norm, or push their child beyond it. These kids are babies who should be learning to co-operate, not compete. I was delighted to see this underpinning the curriculum.
There are lots of opportunities for movement in the curriculum. Kids are invited to hunt for colours, move to music, engage in gross and fine motor activities.
The activities are not all about a piece of paper. Some of the resources I see for kids tend to involve lots of photocopied sheets of paper. This makes it easy on the resource compiler, and in some respects on the parent. "Here's a picture of a monkey to colour in." Itty Bitty Bookworm avoids that sameness. There's a range of creative arts activities which sound like a lot of fun.
Despite what I just said, there are many extras included in the curriculum, most of which can be printed out. These are things like templates for a tracing activity, props for a story or a song - all designed to save people time in looking for the exact shape or picture they need.
The Bo Curriculum (children aged 3 - 5 years) is also literature-based. But that's not all that won my heart. There is a ton of information about routines and activities to include in a pre-school day. There are lots of songs and rhymes tied in to the themes suggested by the chosen children's books. As you would expect, activities are more complex, with lots of discussion points, and opportunities to develop and practise skills appropriate to this age group.
Again, I was impressed by the creative ideas that encouraged kids to use their imaginations, sing, dance, and play. And in the stack of resources supplied to help with activity preparation.
I think both the Itty Bitty Bookworm curricula would make a wonderful resource for preschools, for home schoolers, or parents who want to offer their children developmentally appropriate activities connected to literature. Those of us who haven't picked up little songs, games and rhymes to do with our kids will certainly find them here. Make sure you check out the free resources at the Itty Bitty Bookworm web site.
Book Chook Special Offer! Tara Rison is offering a Buy-One-Get-One-Free CD or Download of any Itty Bitty Bookworm Curriculum. Book Chook readers should purchase a CD or Download normally. At the checkout, in the comments section, type "Book Chook", then the name of the CD or Download you would like for free. Don't put the "free" item in your shopping cart or you'll be charged. Tara says you can use this offer for as many CDs/Downloads as you wish.
Book Chook Alert! If you'd like to win some Itty Bitty Bookworm goodies, visit Literacy Launchpad where Amy is having a raffle for a wonderful cause!
Photo courtesy PhotoXpress.com