Whether you believe in formal education for your little ones or not, Flowering Baby LLC curriculum is an excellent choice. I recently had the opportunity to review the complete curriculum and I was very impressed.
What is Flowering Baby?
Flowering Baby Curriculum is a whole child developmental approach to education from birth to five years old. Their curriculum is broken down into years, by age, and then monthly within each age group. Written by a stay at home mom and her mother, who has a Master’s degree in Education, the curriculum is flexible but rigorous. It can be started anytime throughout the year and be flexible to your schedule and teaching desired for your individual child.
Though appearing to be simple, each activity within the curriculum has a purpose. The goal of Flowering Baby is “to develop a solid and full foundation of cognitive, language, gross motor, fine motor, social and self-help skills in your child.” You can see this in the makeup of the lessons and the variety of activities.
Each Curriculum Guide is broken down by month and there are ten to fifteen days of activities each month. Since children learn through repetition, many activities are repetitive and build upon each other. The Curriculum Guide’s each contain and explanation of the curriculum, hints on how to observe your child’s optimal learning time, how to use the curriculum, websites that can be helpful, books that are good to read throughout the year in addition to the curriculum books, a yearly supply list, and a music list.
The curriculum is broken down by calendar year and can be started wherever you are in the year. Each month lists the supplies needed for the month, monthly book list, music suggestions for the month, and holidays that are covered that month.
Holidays are covered in the month they fall; however, since the curriculum allows you to start where you want and use on whichever days’ work best for you, you will likely have to move them around to the right place in your monthly calendar.
The curriculum is divided into several age groups: Birth-1 years, 1-2 years, 2-3 years, Age 3, and Age 4. The Age 3 and Age 4 curriculum’s are where the curriculum begins to take on some formality, but not too much. The earlier age groups are very informal suggestions on what you can do for each age group to keep the child engaged and give the parent suggestions for activities that are educational and development in nature.
When I first saw a birth-1 year old curriculum, I was a little weary. I’m not a huge proponent of early formal education. However, though I don’t have a baby at this time use this with, I think it is very well thought out.
The curriculum is divided into age groups – for instance, 0-1 month, 1-3 months, 4-6 months, and so on. There are many activities to choose from within each age group. There is a musical composer to focus on and developmental activities. Most daily activity also includes a book to read and/or a song to sing.
The beginning of the curriculum includes a list of books and music for the entire year. Additionally, each age division begins with a list of supplies for that age section, books for that age section, and music composers for that section. You can begin at any age and find appropriate developmental and cognitive activities for you and your baby. For instance, in the one to three month section, day 61, you will:
Day 61: Place your baby on his back on a small blanket, on the floor or the bed. Hold your baby with both hands around his middle. Gently roll him to the left then to the right. Stop then help your baby bring his arms together over his tummy and play “Pat-a-Cake.” Now rub his legs and then help him move them in a cycling motion. Rest a minute. Now push on the bottom of your baby’s feet. Watch for him to push or kick back. Talk to your baby while you are doing these movements. Tell him about his body and how he can move.
Read Brown Bear, Brown Bear.
As your child gets older there may be more challenging activities such as in the nine to twelve month section:
Day 12: Today is all about sponges. Use regular kitchen sponges (new) in a variety of colors. You can cut them in half or into quarters if you like. Your baby will enjoy stacking them into colorful towers. He would also enjoy playing with the sponges in a little bit of water or better yet, non-toxic paint. Supervise closely during this activity.
Have “Wagner” playing in the background for at least fifteen minutes today.
Each day is light, informal and engaging. I think this would be especially helpful to new mothers looking for ways to keep themselves engaged with their babies. I liked the emphasis on music. This is something we did with our babies.
You can see an example of the Birth -1 year old Curriculum here.
Set up similarly to the Birth to 1-year curriculum, the 1 to 2 year Curriculum Guide helps parents find age appropriate developmental and education activities for you and your growing baby. The Curriculum builds on the last year; however, it can be started with at the age of your child even if you have not used the curriculum in the past.
The 1-2 year old curriculum is still very basic and casual. The emphasis on hands on activities and music continues. Again, there are suggested daily activities that can be flexible to your schedule. You can do them all or select activities that fit your schedule.
The curriculum is divided into the age of your children; for instance, the 13th month, 14th month, 15th month, etc. The curriculum begins with an overview of the curriculum, an explanation of how to use the curriculum, and a list of supplies and books for the entire curriculum.
Each month begins with a list of supplies, books, and music for the month. You are then given between 20 and 30 activities for the month. A typical day may include an activity, a song, and/or a book. Here is an example of a typical day in the 1-2 year curriculum:
15th Month, Day 19: Cut out a few different shapes in three different sizes from three different colors construction paper. For example: using red construction paper cut out three circles in small, medium and large sizes. Ask your child to sort them by color; this will be the easiest task. Then ask him to sort them by shape. He can play with them, make a pattern or glue them onto a large piece of paper for a pretty collage. If you wish to keep them to use again you might laminate them for added durability.
Read Guess How Much I Love You.
You can see an example of the 1-2 year old Curriculum here.
The 2 to 3 year old Curriculum continues to age appropriate developmental and cognitive activities. There is a list of books, music, and supplies at the beginning of the curriculum and a explanation of how to use the curriculum. Again, the curriculum is broken down by age so 24th month, 25th month and so on. An example of a 2-3 year old day is:
Language: Take out two to three items and pronounce the names, have your child repeat. Use items and words that are currently being mispronounced or words he has not learned yet. For example, you can select to teach: sofa, table, door, stairs, window, or fence.
Math concepts: Count from 1 to 3, today count out some toys. Count in Spanish from 1 to 3 (uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco.)
Song/Rhyme of the day: “Wheels on the Bus” (don’t forget the hand motions.)
Music of the day: “Wee Sing”.
Story of the day: Goodnight Moon.
Color of the day: Yellow. Use yellow paint for the shape activity.
Shape of the day: Triangle. Cut out triangle stencils in various sizes. Then have your child paint the stencils on paper.
Other: Blow up another balloon today, tie off. Using some kitchen spatulas or other plastic utensil enjoy playing badminton today. Be careful but have fun!
You can see an example of the 2 to 3 year old Curriculum here.
At this point in Flowering Baby, the curriculum formalizes a little. Each month has 15 days of activities to be used how best fits your schedule.
At this point in the curriculum progression, more activities are included and holidays are also covered. For instance, the month of January has a day for books and activities surrounding Martin Luther King Jr. Day and February including books and activities regarding President’s Day, Groundhog Day, Chinese New Year, and Valentine’s Day. However, that being said, this books and activities can be easily skipped if it is not a holiday your family celebrates.
The 3 to 4 Year Old Curriculum begins emphasizing learning letters, number, and shapes. They will work on learning to write upper and lower case letters this year. The curriculum is broken down by calendar month in the 3 year old Curriculum and you are instructed to start at any point in the curriculum and work through the appropriate month. An example of a typical day is:
ABC‟s: Sit with your child today and ask him to tell you something he has done that he really enjoyed, or a story he loves to have read to him. Use colored markers to write down his comments and then offer him colored markers to draw a picture to depict the story.
Math: Count from 1 to 5. I always think it is more fun and visually effective to count out items instead of just counting for the sake of counting. Sometimes in the car we just count as high as we can go.
Little Red Hen: Read story. Dance like chickens. Play with toy farm animals.
Spanish: Count to ten in Spanish. (uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez)
Read: Any Curious George book.
Music of the month: Country. Listen to music, but don‟t expect your child to sit and just listen to this. Play it in the background while he plays or while you are in the car.
The 3 Year Old Curriculum also includes games, songs, and printables in the appendix. Additionally, it includes a 3 Year Old Theme Curriculum Guide. This Theme Curriculum Guide is the second part of the 3 Year Old Curriculum. It provides additional, theme-related activities for you to complete each month.
The Theme Guide encourages parents to choose two themes for each month and gives a suggested theme pair for each month. However, these can be moved around however suits your schedule. For instance, if you have a beach vacation planned you might want to wait until the month of your vacation to use an aquatics theme or if you know you will be visiting a body of water, farm, or zoo, you may want to save those themes for before or after your trip.
Each theme has 6 days of activities associated with it like reading a book, looking at a map, coloring a picture, or making a craft. There are also field trip suggestions. A book list, supply list, and website list is included at the beginning of each theme.
You can see a full example of the 3-4 Year Old Curriculum here.
The 4-5 Year Old Curriculum is an expansion of the 3 Year Old Curriculum and begins to develop pre-writing and pre-reading skills within a flexible environment. The Curriculum is in two parts like the 3 Year Old Curriculum with a basic Curriculum Guide and a Theme Curriculum Guide.
A typical day for a 4 Year Old might be:
ABC‟s: Sing the ABC song. Practice writing D, d. Look for items that start with the letter „d‟.
Math: Practice writing numbers 4, 5, 6, 7. Count out loud from 1 to 20.
Three Billy Goats Gruff: Read story. Draw a picture of this story. After reading the story have your child tell you the story.
Phone number: Tell your child about „911‟ and repeat the number with him several times. Explain that in an emergency if he needs help he can call „911‟ to speak to someone who will assist him.
Reasoning: Tell your child you are going to play a game. You make two movements and ask him to copy both movements. Then make three movements and ask him to copy the movements in order. Some suggestions are: hold your arms up, stand on one foot, touch your nose, bend over, and kneel down. The goal is to see if he can follow directions, copy the movements and determine how many movements he can remember and copy without error. Most children this age should be able to copy at least three movements without error.
Music of the month: Your choice. Listen to music, don‟t expect your child to sit and listen to this, just play it in the background while he plays or while you are in the car.
Spanish: Read the book to your child having your child repeat the Spanish words after you.
The appendix includes songs, activities, and printables for you to use with your guide. The Theme Curriculum Guide has 6 activities for each theme and you are, again, encourage to take on two themes each month. The themes are the same as in the 3 Year Old Theme Curriculum Guide but the activities are a little more difficult and appropriate for your 4 year old.
You can see a sample of the 4-5 year old curriculum here.
How We Used It
My son is 3 so we primarily used the 3-4 Year Old Curriculum. I receive it in January; therefore, it was very easy to begin the curriculum at the first month – January.
I read through the guide and then headed to the library for our January book list. Each month has a book list. I really liked this because it was easy to take the list to the library. If we didn’t already have the book, which we had some, I just got them from the library. The list is also broken up into subjects therefore, if the library didn’t have one, I could just get another from that category such as teeth or sun.
Though I could have ordered them through inter-library loan, I decided to substitute topics unless the book was for a special project or activity. For instance, in the 3 and 4 Year Old Curriculum’s there are Learning Through Stories activities. There is one each month based on a particular book. Those books I ordered to have on hand.
I could not find one in the Health category on teeth. So I just searched for another book on teeth appropriate for a 3 year old and this worked just fine with the curriculum. I wanted to do the Learning through Stories exercise with The Snowy Day for January so, since it was checked out, I placed a hold on it and got it as soon as it came in. (Actually, I KNOW we have that books around here somewhere but…where was a good question, it was just as easy to order it.) The Learning Through Stories exercise each month has a story of focus with thinking questions to ask regarding the story and extra activities that go along with the study.
We typically do two to three days per week on curriculum with my 3 year old. Each day the activities took between 15 and 40 minutes, depending upon how
Each day includes listening to music. Any classical piece is usable but suggestions are provided. For instance, March suggests Irish music and July suggests Pavarotti. However, since we include a composer study in our elementary curriculum, we did the music time combined. As my daughter listened and did whatever activity she was assigned, my son played with Legos, dinosaurs, trains or colored while listening. Here he is doing a bean sorting busy bag while listening to Peter and the Wolf.
Overall, Flowering Baby pleasantly surprised me. The e-books are not intricate or elaborate but they are thorough and well written. I had a question regarding using the curriculum and received a quick and thorough response from the author.
I love that it’s divided by age and has age-appropriate activities that build on each other. I think that it’s very flexible and easy to use. My son seems to really enjoy the activities and we had fun doing them. The supply list and book lists were easy to use and common enough that we had most of the supplies around the house already.
Though the curriculum guide states that you can start at whatever month you wish, I only saw that the curriculum builds a little on counting and letter recognition and can see this as an issue. If you were to start in the middle of the year, you might have some catching up to do.
Another thing that I found interesting is that the book lists between the 3 year old curriculum and the 4 year old curriculum are basically the same. Therefore, if you follow both years you are back to the same books. However, in thinking about this, I know that the kids love to hear the same books again and again so it probably isn’t anything that is a problem, but I can see where some might not prefer this. Nevertheless, I don’t see that as a problem for our family. The questions and activities associated with the books were different for sure.
I would like to see the Theme Guide integrated with the Curriculum Guide so there is no need to go back between the two guides. I think this would make it a little more user-friendly. Otherwise, the guides are full of great information.
The Curriculum prices are outstanding too. You can purchase the Birth to 1, 1-2 year old, and 2-3 year old curriculum’s for $30 each, the 3-4 year old and 4-5 year old curriculum’s for $38 each. And you can purchase the entire bundle of Flowering Baby LLC Curriculum, from birth to age 5 for $132. What a deal.
And if you want to try Flowering Baby you can find them on the Flowering Baby website. Flowering Baby is offering customers 10% off any e-book curriculum purchase through the Flowering Baby website. Just go to the website store, add your curriculum of choice to your cart, enter code Blog10 to the coupon section, and get 10 percent off your purchase. What a great way to save and try this wonderful curriculum.
Overall we really enjoyed our time with Flowering Baby 3-4 Year Old Curriculum and plan to continue it throughout the year. I look forward to continuing to integrate it into our daily school day.