I run a small childcare/preschool center in my home, and we focus lots of time on learning. This year, I wanted to find a curriculum that would be fun and challenging, but wouldn’t be tons of prep work for me. I stumbled upon the Memoria Press Jr. Kindergarten program and it was EXACTLY what I was looking for!
I have used this over the school year with a group of energetic 3-4 year old boys, and I love how it worked for us. This curriculum would be easy to use for a homeschooling family, a small preschool class, or large preschool class – it’s very versatile!
The Memoria Press Jr. K curriculum is Christian-based, and was developed by teachers at the Memoria Press school, which consistently scores in the top 1% of schools in America! It’s thoroughly organized (perfect for my type-A personality), and it’s clear that experienced teachers put a lot of work into this so you don’t have to. What could be better?
The curriculum is designed for 4-5 year olds. It’s structured to cover 2 half-days a week over 33 weeks, but you could adjust as needed. Each week, there is a children’s book to read every day and a letter/number theme.
What I LOVE about this curriculum is that you literally turn the lesson plan book to your day (for example, “Week 2, Day 2”) and it walks you through exactly what to do for circle time, lesson time, craft time, etc. All of the prep work has been done for you!
- Jr. Kindergarten Curriculum Lesson Plans
This book is vital to the program as it has the lesson plans for each day. The book is organized by week and day (week 1, day 1, etc.). When you open the book to your day, it walks you through everything to do for that day, including outside resources to use for each section. You can view a sample lesson plan here.
The curriculum book is only $30, which is a great deal! Those who are budget-conscious could probably get away with only buying this book and finding most of the other materials from a library and/or supplementing with other things. There are other great materials that can be used with the curriculum book, though, and I found most of them to be very helpful.
- Book of Crafts, Jr. K.
The craft book gives detailed craft instructions (along with a black and white picture of every craft) for each week. There is a craft to go along with every letter, and a craft to go along with each week’s theme book. I love how this is organized! I do use Pinterest too, so I supplemented with some crafts I found on there. Overall though, I relied heavily on this craft book. Most of the crafts were very simple to set up and required materials that I usually had on hand. Great resource!
The curriculum offers “Alphabet Books 1 & 2”, which include tracing and other letter activities. It also has alphabet and number coloring books, and “Inside and Outside”, which is a numbers workbook. Since my students weren’t 4 when we started, I didn’t push the workbooks at the beginning of the year. As the year progressed, they started asking for more activities to do and they LOVED using these workbooks and coloring books. Bonus! These books also aren’t very expensive, so they are great tools to have on hand even if you don’t use them along with the curriculum.
- Hailstones & Halibut Bones
This is a book of poetry to supplement some of the lessons. I’ll admit I didn’t use it very much as I found the Richard Scarry poems to be enough, but this is a beautiful book! If you have older Jr. Kindergartners (ages 4.5+), it would work well.
- Big Thoughts for Little People
This is a very cute devotion book. There is a devotion to go along with every letter of the alphabet, and each page has a brightly colored picture and questions for kids to answer about the picture. The boys loved examining each page and answering the questions. This is a great resource for anyone with young children!
- Richard Scarry’s Best Mother Goose Ever
This includes lots of classic poems, along with pictures. The boys loved using this book! The curriculum book references which page/poem to read each week, so it’s super easy to use!
- Prayers for Children
This is a book of prayers, and the curriculum book suggests which prayer to use each day. I choose not to get this book, but made my own prayers for the beginning and end of each preschool day.
- Alphabet flashcards and wall charts
These are simple and clear. Great resource to have, if you don’t have something similar!
- Literature books to go along with each week.
Memorize Press offers a book package here, so you can buy all the literature books for the year. You should also be able to find most of them at your local library if you prefer to go that route.
How it works:
Obviously, this will work differently depending on your situation. Here is how it worked for my small group.
1) When the children arrived, I gave them free time to play in our playroom.
2) After a few minutes, I’d call them over for circle time and (using the curriculum book) we’d discuss weather, days of the week, memorization and introduce our letter/number theme for the week. We’d also do singing and our devotion.
3) After this, we’d jump into an activity that related to our theme (again, from the curriculum book).
4) After the activity, we’d sit down again and read our theme book for the week and discuss it (using questions from the curriculum book).
5) We’d then work on a craft or activity. Part way through the year, we also started using the workbooks.
6) After craft time, we would usually do an additional game or activity the book suggested and/or head outside for some active time.
7) We’d circle up for a quick prayer and that was the end of our preschool day!
Preschool doesn’t need to be complicated, but I was overwhelmed at the idea of coming up with every lesson/activity by myself. The Memoria Press curriculum was PERFECT for me. All I had to do in preparation for each week was get the literature book and make sure we had the necessary craft materials. Obviously, I could also pick and choose what activities to use based on my group. When I had more time, I would sometimes supplement the suggested activities with things I found on Pinterest. This gave me a perfect balance; structure and planning were in place, but I could alter it as desired.
I highly recommend this program for anyone who is preparing to teach preschool to an individual child or a group of children. It would work best for a teacher who needs structure and doesn’t want to do in-depth planning, and for a child who is at least 4+ years old (I started it with boys that were 3.5 years old, so I simply took some of the complicated concepts out to suit their needs).
Overall, the Memoria Press Jr. K program is a teacher-friendly, high-quality program. I can’t wait to use it again down the road!
For more information, you can see/order the curriculum here. Enjoy!
Note: I received some materials for free in exchange for writing this review. It did not alter my review in any way, and I do not receive any profits from others who choose to purchase this curriculum.