There are so many things you can use to teach your preschooler. We usually try to take an out-of-the-book approach as well as encourage hands-on fun. About a year before a child is going to start Kindergarten, I like to start getting them familiar with participating in school-like work a few times per week using worksheets to help them with writing letters and numbers, and using scissors. We continue using toddler resources, with more hands-on instruction, and add in some other age-appropriate things.
The young ones can be apart of the educational process by being your special helpers. They can hold the tape dispenser or go get the paper or crayons for everyone. Give them a job to include them and make them feel important.
If I am reading aloud or lecturing, I usually have a coloring sheet (like from the The Story of the World Activity Book) for my pupil and make another copy for the non-schooled toddler. If the curriculum is not one that allows for reproduction, I will find another sheet from something else that looks similar for the toddler to use.
I don’t expect him to color in the lines or follow any direction that I may have for the school aged children to follow, but the toddler feels involved and important just because he has a copy too. By watching his siblings, he critiques his own techniques and follows the older kids’ examples. As generally he is concentrating on his coloring and picking up on his brothers’ skills, he learns to sit quietly while I teach without being coerced to do so.
Educational Shows and Movies
For the preschool aged kid we find an educational show (like Sesame Street) or learning DVD (like Preschool Prep Series) for him to watch while his siblings are doing their school work. This works as a good refresher for the basic knowledge he has already been taught, and usually he will learn some new songs to go along with what he knows.
We discuss the show or video and then put his learning to practice with workbooks and reproducibles.