Inside The Box: A Peek Into Our Preschool Curriculum Part 1

Last week, I shared my excitement about receiving our first Mother Goose Time box, and promised I’d share more pictures. So here we go!

As I mentioned in the previous post, each month we receive this awesome box full  of pretty much everything we are gonna need for the month: a teaching guide with the daily lesson plans, 20 daily activities (with supplies included) individually wrapped, and also monthly materials to add to our Circle Time board that represent the general themes we’ll be learning that month.

In this post I will show you more of what is in the Teacher’s Tool Bag. In the following two posts this month, I will break down the Circle Time Materials and the Daily Activity Bags.

So let’s jump in!

Unpacking our first box this time around reminded me of how excited we used to get when Natalie was in preschool and we’d receive our monthly delivery. I couldn’t wait until the kiddos were down for naps or bedtime to sprawl all the contents out on the table. That hasn’t changed!

And this is just one bag! So I’m going to break it down piece by piece.

This is our monthly theme web poster. Our four main subtopics this month for Alphabet Island are Setting Sail, At the Beach, Island Fun, and Exploring the Island, each with 5 daily topics we’ll explore in our Daily Topic Bags later this month.

The Gathering List has been a lifesaver for me, as one who likes to get all my supply ducks in a row before we start our lesson each day. While the daily topic bags do contain the majority of materials the kids will need, there are a few staple supplies that I need to keep around the house and pull from as needed (glue, paste, scissors, tape, etc.) This lovely organized list lets me know what I need on hand before we dive in to avoid unnecessary interruptions in our learning flow.

These fun little goodies are examples of the 2 sets of manipulatives included in each month’s box! We’ve accumulated quite the collection from Natalie’s stint with Mother Goose Time a couple of years ago, and the kids still use them on a regular basis to build, create, and to aid with our lessons. (Insider Tip: We have a rolling cart that has 4 drawers that we keep our manipulatives in and that allows the kids to pull them out whenever they want to play with them. This curriculum has so many awesome resources that you’ll want to find a way to make them accessible to the kids outside of “school” time so they can continue to enjoy them!)

Now on to the main resource in the Teacher’s Tool Bag: the Teacher’s Guide.

Not only does this contain the daily lesson plans, but it also walks you through how to use each of the resources provided in the Teacher’s Tool Bag.

Here’s the overviews of both the Monthly Theme Web and the Planning Journal (we’ll explore this beauty below).

Here’s a quick reference on the basic concepts covered that month (Letters, Numbers, Shapes, Colors, Patterns, Sight Words, Word Family, Friendship Trait).

One part of each day’s activities is Circle Time (we’ll explore the Circle Time bag later this month that helps you build your own board). The Teacher’s Guide walks you through facilitating this time, as well as incorporating each month’s new Circle Time materials.

This is a new addition since the last time we used Mother Goose Time. They used to have different learning stations to help give the kids variety in their day (great in a classroom setting with multiple kids, but we still set up some of them at home with just our two). I love that they have developed this aspect and really look forward to discovering more of what these different stations have to offer us this time around.

Here is the overview for the first arm off the Theme Web, Setting Sail. This is such a great way to get me prepared as the teacher for what we will be discussing that week and overarching themes I can continue to pull out as we’re in the middle of the daily topics. It also gives us an opportunity to hypothesize on what we will discover over that week and keep track of our findings once we’ve completed each set of five lessons.

This is the Developmental Continuum of the Experience Early Learning Skills for Preschool chart, which allows me to assess how each child is developing in different area (social and emotional, physical, language and literacy, etc.). There is a chart at the end of each Teacher’s Guide, with specific benchmarks for your child depending on age. Pictured above is the chart specifically for Alphabet Island, to show you which activities help showcase each child’s skills in a specific area, so that I can assess them in those specific categories and then reference the chart in the back of the book to see if it coincides with their age range, etc. As a parent and teacher, this helps me to recognize a little easier how each of my children are shaped, which areas they may need some extra focus and encouragement and others where they may naturally excel (to be able to search out more activities to further stimulate their growth). This allows me to be more intentional with what activities to help fosters their strengths and further grow skills in the areas where they may be a little underdeveloped.

Here is Day 1’s Lesson Plan: Island. You can see the Circle Time plan on the far left, and then the four main activities represented for that day’s topic. In the middle of the right picture, you see the suggested book for the day, The Little Sailboat by Lois Lenski, that relates well to that day’s topic as well as the theme for the week (Setting Sail). This makes it super easy to make a library list at the beginning of the week or month, depending on how frequently you visit. Or if there are some personal favorites, to snag a few on Amazon. There is also a comprehensive list available each month on the resources page of Mother Goose Time to be able to print and go.

Another great, fun resource is the monthly CD that goes along with the Circle Time activities each day. They are all themed (of course, right?) and then the lyrics are provided at the back of the Teacher’s Guide to help until these catchy tunes make their way into memory. My son has the CD in his personal CD player in his room already.

And along the side of the lyrics page are some of the Spanish vocabulary words for the month. I LOVE that this is provided in a preschool curriculum, and is such a great way to not only begin learning a new language, but to continue to expand my kids’ worldview and introduction to other cultures.

I really could add about 20 more pictures of the Teacher’s Guide and ways that we have already been utilizing the materials from the Teacher’s Tool Bag, but I gotta stop somewhere. More to come: Circle Time materials and Daily Topic Bags!

As an official Mother Goose Time Blog Ambassador,
I receive curriculum in exchange for posting about our honest and authentic experiences with the curriculum.
Click here for more information on Mother Goose Time.


Summer School – Box Day!

I am so excited to announce that we’ve decided to use the Mother Goose Time curriculum again as our official Pre-K curriculum for Peterman! We’ve been waiting until The Sweetness finishes first grade to start a new, longer learning routine with Peter (now that he’s a big boy four), and it’s finally here! Call us crazy, as most other families are counting down the days until summer break just as we are ramping up to start a new school year with Peter, but that is the flow of this household. A little crazy. Truthfully, we’ve just enjoyed a little hiatus from our usual school routine as we moved into our new home and have gotten our new footing here, and so we’re looking forward to a fun, fruitful summer!

One reason we chose to go with Mother Goose Time is because it is so hands-on (and super visually appealing)!  Check out June’s Theme, Alphabet Island!

I have found that each day this week that we’ve pulled out our Mother Goose Time daily bags, both kids still want to stay at the table longer, and continue with their “free play” time making additional improvements or adjustments to their STEM creations & art projects. That speaks volumes to me, in and of itself.

When Day 1’s Topic, Island, called for water play, Peter stayed at the table an hour past our lesson time, continuing to explore what he could do with this month’s math manipulatives in his water tray. This was super handy because it allowed Natalie to do a little bit of her handwriting and reading practice while he was engaged, in the same room, with minimal interruptions. Can I get a Hallelujah? (I am pretty sure I heard angels singing in the background.) So far, it has been a total win for our family in this season!

And we all just love Box Day! I mean, look at how adorable this is (and the kids aren’t too bad, either)!



And then you open it up, and everything is already organized (swoon)!

This is my first box, which will include the Starter Kit (one time bag), and then all the other materials that I will continue to get each month (the Teacher Tool Bag, pictured below, that includes materials such as the Teacher’s guide and the monthly planning journal; the Circle Time bag, that includes materials that I can add to my Circle Time board or station each month, including letters of the month, new calendar pieces, theme poster, etc; and the 20 Daily bags that include each day’s topic poster, as well as the majority of materials needed for each day’s lesson plan (minus a few everyday household items, like glue, markers, and the like).



With all the materials already divided up and the lessons planned already so clearly laid out, I don’t have to spend long hours planning and compiling materials. Which means I am freed up to put my energy into teaching my kids and enjoying my time with them as they explore the materials.  I have found that the extra time and energy it saves me on the front end allows for me to follow their ideas and moods on even given day to further personalize their learning.

I am a visual person, so I want to show you just what I experience on any given box day each month, as I pull out all the colorful materials and get excited about the time we’re going to get to enjoy together over the next few weeks. I mean, who doesn’t love getting mail?!

So we’ll explore Alphabet Island together in some upcoming posts, where I will share pictures of the contents of these fun little bags, and a few of our personal take-aways from the lesson plans.

Thanks for reading!


As an official Mother Goose Time Blog Ambassador,
I receive curriculum in exchange for posting about my honest and authentic experiences with the curriculum.
Click here for more information on Mother Goose Time.

The Best Gifts

I have this friend. She says that she pursued me and convinced me to be her friend. I will only agree with her on the fact that she did come over to my house about a week or two after our first babies were born (1 day apart), because Lord knows I wasn’t going anywhere for the next month and she’s just crazy and independent enough to go traveling with her firstborn newborn like she’s been doing it all her life.

Anyways, she may have initiated, but our friendship has been mutual, if not lopsided since. You see, she gave me one of the best gifts from the very beginning. Acceptance. She totally accepted me for who I was, in that season, and each season after that. She didn’t require more than I could give. She’s just always been there, for what feels like forever (also because once you have kids, it’s hard to remember what life was like before them. For better or for worse.) (insert smirk)

Recently I’ve walked through a lot of new territory that has taken it’s toll. Loss comes in all shapes and sizes – ours looking like a miscarriage at 7 weeks, a move away from the only home our children have ever known and an amazingly supportive community, a job not working out, and of course don’t forget the million expectations that each of these are wrapped in. And in this season, while the Lord has given SO much strength and companionship and even new friendships, it has still been really hard.

And in the process, I have recently discovered I have also lost sight of who I am.

So when my beloved friend offered to meet me halfway between our home in Matthews, NC and south GA, I resisted. I found myself scared that I no longer had anything to offer her in return for all that she has given me. And I wasn’t sure I could walk through another loss right now, a loss of closeness and connection with one of my dearest friends.

But I decided that I should go. And I’m so glad that I did. And as we spent a few hours catching up, she said words to me that I will never forget.

They came in response to my confession, that I didn’t feel I had anything to offer anymore. This season of stripping away and pruning had left me feeling barren, in more ways than one.

And her response was one of the sweet gifts.

She said that she would take any Jenny that she can get. The confident, full of the Spirit, ready to attack a new move and job and season Jenny, and a broken, sad, and disoriented Jenny as well.

Acceptance. I didn’t have to come bearing gifts or words of wisdom or some explanation of what I had just walked through.

I could just be me, whoever that is right now.

And an amazing thing happened. When my hurt and wounds were watered with acceptance, I left, just hours later, feeling strengthened and with a renewed sense of purpose. And also a realization that part of my current struggle is that I had been grappling with trying to remember and be who I was before this season started.

It’s like I was under the impression that now that things in my life were broken, I needed to go back to who I was before, somehow fix things as though they hadn’t happened.

It sounds so silly as I type it out, but it was this subconscious struggle. I needed to be me, and since I didn’t know who this new girl was, I was trying to revisit her last sighting.

But that’s not what our Savior does. He doesn’t reinvent. He makes things new.

I had been struggling to be  who I used to be, but I’m not a mama of two anymore, living in GA with friends I’ve known for the past 10 years, doing the normal life thing as we knew it.

I’m now a mama of three, even though I don’t have the privilege of the 3rd one being with me anymore, and I now live in Matthews, NC with new friends who I’m just now getting to know.

I’ve lost some things. Some significant things. It needs to be acknowledged. Grieved.

But also as important is the acknowledging of what the Lord is doing right now, and that is planting new things in my life.

He’s preparing us for our next, new season in Him. And He’s pruning for new growth.

My friend’s acceptance gave me the freedom to be the new me, the one that I’m still continuing to become.

(I have a feeling this new Jenny is gonna be a little bit less put-together, but prayerfully more compassionate and graceful. But I have a feeling the same ole impatience is still there, along with her love for naps.)

So ironically, as I get to know people a little bit better here, I feel like we’re both getting to know me at the same time, too.

It’s hard not to feel like it’s a deficiency to not have a good grasp on who you are by age 34. I have struggled with shame regarding that, this lie that I need to have my life together by now. I mean, I’m a grown woman responsible for two littles that has been walking with the Lord for years. “Get your life together, woman!” Blah Blah Blah – insert internal monologue here.

But I guess the 2nd half of 34 is a good enough place to start as any.

So here’s to more of ‘the middle,’ starting a new year in a few days with new eyes and new hope.

That’s another one of the best gifts. Hope.


There can be loss & new gifts all at the same time.

That’s the beauty of our God.

Much love.