Morning time is one of our favorite times of day! It allows for me to slow down with my girls and connect over stories, poetry, and all things beautiful. We sing together, learn new things, and read lots of wonderful, enriching literature. Keep reading to see my gentle + classical preschool review and how our preschool morning time routine goes!
Gentle + Classical Preschool Review
I first discovered morning time through the Your Morning Basket podcast by Pam Barnhill. Then I read Cindy Rollins’ Handbook to Morning Time, and I fell in love with the concept. I’d already started a “morning time” of sorts with my girls. It was mostly a morning routine, and you can read more about here. But now that my oldest is almost 4.5, I’ve started a full-fledged morning time with her, and I can honestly say that it’s my FAVORITE part of our day.
To start off, my girls are 4.5 and 22 months. We do morning time every morning right after breakfast. Usually we are still sitting at the kitchen table. We do it every weekday except Fridays. So Monday through Thursday. The prep really is minimal when you have it all laid out the year before. I chose the program (we are using Gentle + Classical Preschool) and selected and purchased the books we would use ahead of time. These cards you see are from the Gentle + Classical Preschool program, and they are from Level 2. I printed them off for the whole year, and all I have to do is simply change out the cards each Sunday evening! This really has been wonderful in guiding our morning time plans and homeschool in general!
Here is how our morning time rhythm works. (I’ve included the time increments so you can get an idea of how long we spend on each category!)
01. Singing + Bible
We start out by singing together. We sing two hymns and then any of the songs G and N know that they want to sing together. (2-3 minutes)
We are using the Meaningful Menu (see it in the basket in the picture below) as it is aligned with Gentle + Classical Preschool Level 2. I love that it has all of our memory work (hymnal, verse, catechism, etc.) in one spot!
-Catechism & Bible Verses
We memorize one bible verse every couple weeks. They’re short so they’re fairly easy for kids to remember! We also memorize the catechism statements from Gentle + Classical Preschool Level 2. (1-2 minutes)
Read-Alouds are our favorite part of morning time, I think. When I shared what I’d be doing for homeschool in the beginning of the year, I shared all of the different books we had for morning time on IG stories, and I had so many questions on “why so many different books?” and “you guys read all of those?!” But honestly it doesn’t feel like that many when you read them all consistently every day. Also, each has a different story/flow. The Bible story is very old school sounding and rich in language and content. The nursery rhyme is fun and light. My girls usually have those memorized by the end of the week. The poem is also fun to listen to. They usually recite it with me after a couple of weeks. The nature poems align with our seasons, so we talk about the weather and changing seasons. Then the fairy tale or virtue story is usually very whimsical and magical. It’s a wonderful line-up, and Erin Cox over at Gentle Classical Press did a remarkable job curating this list and putting together this program.
I read a chapter from the Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories. (3-5 minutes)
We are using Favorite Nursery Rhymes From Mother Goose, and we read one rhyme each day. (1-2 minutes)
We are studying the poet Robert Louis Stevenson all year long. I have grown to love and appreciate his work. We read from the A Child’s Garden of Verses. My 1.5 year old has memorized some of these poems. They’re catchy and entertaining, yet rich in language for children. (2-3 minutes)
We’re using the Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year book. I read the poem for the specific date then move on to our fairy tale. (2-3 minutes)
We use Classic Fairy Tales and Classic Storybook Fables. They have classic tales like The Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and Beauty and the Best. We also read some Beatrix Potter (our favorite!) as our tale for the week. (5-7 minutes)
03. Preschool Morning Time Memory Work
We do all of this memory work each morning. Some children don’t thrive with the “drill and kill” memorization method. That’s okay! My 4.5 year old doesn’t ming it. It’s how she learned her letter names and letter sounds last year, so we continue it. The second she shows disinterest, however, I put it away. I don’t want her to think school is work. Not yet, at least! I want to keep the wonder and enchantment in our education!
(In total this all take about 3 minutes.)
We are lightly studying french vocabulary. I have flashcards I bring out every morning. There’s only about 3-5 of them. We go over those and move onto sight words.
We only do a few of these each morning, but I printed off the Dolch Site Word List for Kindergarten. We’re slowly working through it at G’s pace.
We are very relaxed with math this year. We usually focus on counting by 10’s, 2’s, and 1’s. We count to 100, and review 2D and 3D shapes. I’ve also randomly worked with G (4) on recognizing numbers 1-20. I’ve done all of this extremely informally, and she’s learning it all so naturally! We might use a full curriculum next year, but we might now. Below is an example of our Monday Mix-Up game we play. We mix up all the bean bags and order them 1-20. She can do it with ease now, but it took a few weeks of doing it together! Now that she can do this, we will move on to a new math skill!
04. Preschool Morning Time Loop
So after we finish our morning hymnals, read-alouds, and memory work we usually either take a break and play/read some more, then do this part later on in the day, or we move right into it. Each day is different! But the “loop” means we don’t do this all every day. We do one of these each day. Then move on to the next one and so forth until it loops back to the first activity! I hope that makes sense!
So Gentle + Classical Preschool Level 2 comes with a stellar art/music pack. It truly is a gem. Composer study has been one of our favorite aspects of morning time, and the same goes for picture study! For music we are generally using the Story of the Orchestra text (which tells all about different composers and musical instruments) so we will read about the composer, listen to the chosen song, and learn about our new instrument. G + C Preschool 2 also has these wonderful Montessori learning cards that we love. We are studying Mozart this term!
For picture study, we follow the Charlotte Mason method. We are studying Monet right now. I show my daughter the picture and without saying anything, I let her talk about it freely. She talks about what she sees, what time of day it is, what colors are in it. Then we turn it over and she discusses what she remembers from the picture. After, we take out the Montessori cards we have for those, and she sorts them and we talk about how our new painting is different/alike compared to the other Monet paintings. It’s been so wonderful to watch G enjoy fine art and classical music at such a young age. She thoroughly enjoys it!
I am actually really loving our Nature study right now. G (4) is naturally interested in birds. She loves watching them, reading about them, and learning about them. So I bought a bird field guide for $5 and each week when it’s time for our nature lesson I let her choose a bird she wants to learn about. I read to her about them. I’ll usually show her on the globe where they live (hello geography!), and then she draws the bird and what she learned. (This is a way of “narrating: what she heard back to me – which a Charlotte Mason method!) I also occasionally read to her from our Nature Anatomy encyclopedia. Children find nature naturally fascinating, so we talk about it together a lot. We also spend at least an hour outside per day. I know this isn’t attainable for everyone. Sometimes we spend several hours outside with friends, and other days we barely make it to an hour (since it’s January, this is the norm, but we still make it out every day!)
Note: I wanted to use Gentle + Classical Nature exclusively, but we ended up not getting everything ready in time and I wanted to start simple. Now that we have a good routine with the resources we’re using this year, I will probably start it up, or pick and choose units (Frogs, Birds, etc.).
Each Wednesday (the day before poetry tea time), we bake baked goods to have at our poetry tea time the following day! It’s a great way to go over measuring, fractions, and counting naturally. Plus, we eat yummy foods that we bake together!
-Poetry Tea Time
I’ll write more about poetry tea time someday, but it’s essentially where we drink tea by candlelight and read from our favorite poem books for about a half hour. This is when we have our chamomile tea and baked goods that we made the previous day. This time isn’t necessarily in the morning, but it’s what we do once a week in the afternoons as an extension of the poetry we read in morning time!
Preschool Morning Time Handicrafts
We do these throughout! Handicrafts are basically little things to set out for your kids to keep their hands busy while you read to them. My 4.5 year old can sit and listen, but she does like to draw sometimes. I also set out beads and string to make bracelets, modeling clay, play dough and tools, or lacing activities. My almost two year old loves to play with magnets, draw, or tinker with blocks nearby. Someday, when my girls are older they’ll have bigger projects like knitting, sewing, etc. But for now, we keep it simple!
Okay, I know that was a lot. Hopefully it helps you get a little idea of what we do each day. I will try to maybe film ourselves doing morning time so you can see what it looks like! It’s the most beautiful part of our homeschool. I’m so thankful we’ve found it! Hopefully this inspires you to try something similar too!
I hope this post about our homeschool preschool morning time routine and gentle + classical preschool review of level 2 was helpful to you! Thank you for reading!