Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Homeschool Montessori Preschool Program

Sonlight Preschool Program: Fiction, Fairy Tales, and Fun

The following is a sponsored post in collaboration with Sonlight Homeschool Curriculum. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

July is quickly approaching and that means parents across the country are going to get serious about prepping for the new school year. Tons of parents homeschooled their preschoolers last year, and judging by the number of parents of toddlers joining our Hispanic and Bilingual Homeschoolers group, I'm guessing a large number will be homeschooling their preschoolers again this year. So today's review of Sonlight's new Montessori-based PreK program is for them!


Quick Overview

Program: Sonlight's Preschool Pack: Fiction, Fairy Tales, and Fun
Subject(s): literacy, 
Religious Perspective: Christian
Format: Books and manipulatives/Montessori approach
Grades: Preschool
Language: English
Price: $350.00

Literature-based Montessori Approach

Sonlight's new PreK program is a feast for book-loving families. With a strong focus on literature and the Montessori method, Sonlight has improved upon their previous preschool curriculum by adding on titles and activities that develop pre-reading, pre-writing, and pre-math skills, as well as those that explore science, foreign language (Spanish), and music. The focus is on nurturing mastery of self-directed activities, which is keeping in line with the Montessori approach.

Sonlight Preschool Books

Preschool at Home

I have often talked about the importance of preschool, whether it be at home or in a school setting. Research shows that children who attend a good preschool and have involved parents are more likely to have better self-esteem, higher IQs, and fewer behavioral problems. They have higher literacy rates, test scores, and graduation rates. They are also less likely to repeat a grade level, smoke, drop out, or experience teen pregnancy.

And preschooling at home can be just as effective, if not more so, provided that parents are actively involved with teaching the essential skills and habits that preschoolers need to learn to prepare for kindergarten and beyond.

This curriculum is easy to implement; it only takes 30 minutes a day, three times a week. It comes with a fabulous teacher's guide to help you get started and stay on track. 

And what an abundance of literature! So many excellent books to read to your child. They make up the heart of this program. From Richard Scarry's What Do People Do All Day? to Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales and Harper Collins Treasury of Picture Book Classics, there are so many great titles that your child will be exposed to thousands of words to boost their vocabulary.

But it also comes with a small box full of manipulatives or tools, which my 3-year-old absolutely loves. The program focuses on sensory items to stimulate your child's learning. Shape stencils/puzzles, sandpaper letters, round number counters, are all fantastic for capturing a preschooler's interest. 

Sonlight Preschool Program manipulatives

The teacher's guide comes printed out with holes on the side for placing in a binder, which I did. Each lesson starts with a simple chart overview for the week, then is followed by a few pages with more detailed instructions. The lessons are broken down into five "subjects" overall:

  1. Bible
  2. Letters, Shapes & Numbers
  3. Read-Alouds
  4. Arts & Crafts
  5. Music/Spanish
The detailed instructions give a better explanation for procedures to the parent. They also list optional activities, which I really appreciated. 

**This program is only available in English, however, it does include the DK book, My First Spanish Word Board Book for those families who are just beginning their journey into raising bilingual children. If you are an English-speaking-only parent, Sonlight does have a page on their website where you can listen to the Spanish pronunciations to the words in the book (not a native Spanish speaker, but still accurate).

Here's a quick overview of everything included in the package that you'll receive:

What I love

I love that this program is so FLEXIBLE. I can use the guide as strictly or as loosely as I'd like. And I am. I often stray, adding in activities or resources that we have at home that I feel complement my 3yo's learning or simply grabbing one of the books to read before they're introduced in the lessons (we can always read them again!).

For example, I purchased this fantastic easel with a dry-erase board on one side and felt board on the other. It was a perfect substitution for pencil and paper while using the shape stencils, which we did, too, as the guide suggested. But letting him also do this on the dry-erase board brought a little freshness to the activity.

Sonlight Preschool Program shape stencils

I also absolutely love the amount of books included as well as the titles that were selected. Fortunately, we didn't have duplicates already in our home library. So most of these stories were new to my youngest, though a few had been checked out before at our local library. 

And I really liked the relaxed schedule. Preschool isn't about memorizing the months of the year or adding double digit numbers. I love that my kid can just be a kid, learning at an easy pace in a fun way. All the pressure that goes with academics can come later if it must. Right now it's just time to enjoy learning about the world and diving deeper into those things that fascinate him.

A Complete Package

If you've been looking for a complete preschool program that is centered around children's literature, this may the one for you! Visit their website to read more about this great program for preschool.

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