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The Best Free Preschool Resources
When first entering the world of child care and early childhood education, you may feel a bit like you’ve taken a dive into the deep end of the pool. While it’s easy to become overwhelmed, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re not the first person to ever take on this endeavor. Plus, you’re joining a community of educators who are willing and eager to share what they’ve learned to help create a more inclusive and equitable education system. Whether you’ve been crafting early childhood lesson plans for years or you’re just getting started, it’s worth looking into these free preschool resources to help mold and improve your teaching strategies. Don’t feel turned off by resources that are blogs — many experienced educators opt to share their knowledge and experience by writing directly to other educators.
Helping with the Big Picture
Kaplan started as a toy store more than 50 years ago, but has since grown into a corporation that provides resources for school systems and childcare centers. While they sell many of their learning products, they also have a free resource in their Insights & Inspirations page which includes activities and lesson plans on a variety of learning goals.
Teach Preschool is a blog that covers topics from curriculum to teacher confidence written by Deborah J. Stewart, who has a master’s in education and 30 years of experience in the field of early childhood education. The author also owns and teaches a private preschool, so her writing expresses a wealth of knowledge and comes from a place of experience.
Preschool Inspiration is a blog run by Katie T. Christiansen, a veteran preschool teacher, mother of three and self-proclaimed child development research junkie. The website offers up plenty of engaging activities and maps out how to execute them in a way that is easy to understand.
Simply Kinder author Jennifer Kadar focuses on meeting children where they’re at developmentally and shares her experience in hundreds of articles as well as a weekly newsletter filled with teaching ideas and resources. There is also an active Facebook group of educators eager to help each other.
Developing Pre-Math Skills
Early Math Counts is an organization born out of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Education to help early childhood educators close the math achievement gap by providing free online professional development programs. They list their resources by age and include tips for everything from teaching terms, such as more and less, to engaging activities aimed at learning the concepts behind fractions.
Fun Learning For Kids is a blog run by a mother who has over the years collected games and crafts with learning concepts hidden within them. Kids learn through experiences, and her list of math activities is robust, so you’re sure to find something to engage your learners in a fun, interactive way.
Exploring Art, Creativity & Sensory Skills
Happy Hooligans is run by Jackie Currie, who has run a private daycare for more than 20 years. She started the website to share learning activities she’s developed, all of which are geared toward artistic expression and sensory play. Her site also includes a collection of recipes as well as parenting advice.
Hands on as We Grow offers a plethora of activities aimed at craft and art projects, sensory play and development of fine and gross motor skills.
Pre-reading & Pre-writing Resources
Public libraries provide a wealth of age-appropriate books and other resources to help children engage in pre-writing and pre-reading activities. Libraries on the state and county level allow residents to not only check out books, but many also offer programs that have recently shifted online to help parents who are teaching from home. Your tax dollars are hard at work, so reap the benefits!
Childhood 101 is an online magazine aimed at learning ideas for parents and teachers that has an excellent list of books broken down by topics each child might be interested in and material that you want your young learner to absorb.
Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, helps connect educators, families and directors to literacy curriculum. In addition to curating a reading list by age and interest, they also offer helpful advice and resources for specific problems that early learners might present.
Barnes & Noble, the bookseller with the largest number of outlets in the United States, hosts a virtual story time with readings of some of its favorite children’s stories. Taking that concept one step further, Storyline Online does something similar but with celebrated actors alongside creative production illustration. This is especially helpful for disengaged children because readers include stars reading their favorite books from their childhood — including Kristin Bell, who played Anna in Frozen.
The Field Museum in Chicago is doing its part to help educators, directors, and parents through its Learning at Home page. Even if you can’t visit the museum in person to see Sue, the famous T-Rex, you can virtually explore the exhibit of dinosaur fossils. Curators have put together resources on dinosaurs and evolution, plants and animals, world culture, and earth science.
Education.com, a company that provides learning resources in over 20 countries, offers up learning activities in a variety of topics, but their science content is especially robust. A quick visit will leave you with ideas for interactive lessons, such as sink or float activities, and how to make a solar oven. Although the idea of teaching science can seem intimidating, sites like these make it both approachable and fun.
Jumpstart, similarly, is a company that makes educational games on a variety of topics with a number of activities and lesson plans geared toward developing science skills. The inclusion of learning ideas, such as smelling tests and how to make music from a soda bottle, will have you thinking up your own science experiments you’d never considered.
PBS, a nonprofit broadcasting company, has a long history of promoting education and their website hosts a number of games aimed at developing reading, math, science and Spanish skills. For the children who get bored easily or for the disengaged learner who complains about wanting to play video games, this resource is sure to help.
Sesame Street, the longtime favorite program created by PBS, has a history of inspiring education and bridging cultural gaps. Their free online resources are plentiful! Their preschool page hosts games, videos, and interactive art experiences that are great for young learners — especially those who love Elmo.
Looking for More Free Preschool Resources, Ideas & Guides? We Can Help
The world of child care and early childhood education can be exciting, fulfilling, and also a bit intimidating — but you’re never alone! Don’t be afraid to take advantage of the plethora of free resources available or tap into your network for guidance. If you’re looking for additional support in your child care or early childhood education endeavor, contact us at Wonderschool today.