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Blending Skills in an Arts-Integrated Learning Environment

Our amazing curriculum by ​Mother Goose Time is an arts-integrated curriculum that uses music, visual arts, dance, dramatic play, storytelling, engineering and construction to help children experience and learn about
our world. 

But what does that all mean? 

It means that the amazing Mother Goose Time staff is constantly working to create a curriculum that presents classical education concepts (abc’s and 123’s) as well as physical and social skills in a way that is engaging and fun. They provide intensive learning plus skill and character building activities that appeal to a young child’s natural instinct to play. This may look like all fun and games, but it’s also a complete curriculum!

All of those dots and stars are important skills, concepts and developmental goals. This is just ONE month in the Mother Goose Time curriculum. There are 33 skills that we work to cover, falling under these 7 categories: Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Language and Literacy, Mathematics and Reasoning, Social Studies, Science and Creative Development.

How do we accomplish all that in one month?

Many of the activities blend skills. If they aren’t specifically written that way, the open ended structure of the activities makes it easy to tie in a review of other skills. That’s the beauty of play based learning- flexibility! If you’re wondering what that looks like, here’s an example of just one activity.

First off, my kids love any excuse to play with water, so I knew this activity would hold thier attention for a while; allowing us to cover a variety of skills. We started this activity by scooping out and sorting the blocks for a fun color review and sensory activity.


Next he counted how many blocks of each color.

We followed up with more advanced math concepts- estimitating, greater or less than, compairing, adding and pattern making. Finally we ended with discussing the letter that each color starts with and what sound that makes.

So we blended fine motor, number concepts, colors, patterns, sorting, measurement and phonological awareness.

The best part is, he had a blast! No whinning, crying or difficulty. Just fun.

This style of teaching allows for frequent review of concepts presented in a variety of ways. Everyone learns differently, so this is a fabulous way to teach. 


If you’ve spent any time around kids this age, you know they’re always moving! Integrating dance, movement and dramatic play facilitates so much gross motor activity during our school time. Staggering active learning and more focused activities helps my children stay focused. I can’t imagine trying to get a 3 or 4 year old to stand still for an hour, nevermind actually learning anything!

Arguably one of the best aspects of this curriculum is the use of art. It provides a balanced mix of craft projects that can be used for creative and dramatic play (Make and Play Activities) and open ended art opportunities (Invitation to Create Activities). The value in these activities are truly endless. From fine motor work, cutting and pasting skills to pre-writing exercise through coloring. These activities blossom into creative play and allow for building vocabulary, communicating ideas, following directions and expressing themselves through the visual arts.

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Alphabet Island

We were so excited to start Alphabet Island this month!! X has been really interested in the ocean and pirates lately, so it’s a great fit!

From pirate fun to boat science we’ve splashed and Arrrgh-ed our way through so much learning already! The Make and Play spy glass and eye patch were huge hits.

As always, the boys LOVE our manipulatives this month! It was so neat how Mother Goose Time suggested we use our foam numbers as islands for Day 1! This fun activity was expanded even further by adding a math game element. X would roll a number one the cube dice and fish out that number island. We even were able to do a little adding!

Q has been loving puzzles lately, so he really enjoyed connecting the letters and numbers.

X spent quite some time experimenting with what his boat could hold and what would make it sink. I loved the ease of creating a tinfoil boat as suggested by our Science Experiment card. Design and physics concepts at work in preschool learning! He also explored balancing items in the boat which could result in making it flip. I use any opportunity I can to bring our school into our play, especially outside, and our Day 2: Boat unit did this perfectly!

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A to Zoo Animals!

We are so excited to be working with Mother Goose Time! Our June theme is A to Zoo Animals, which is perfect timing for us. X has been really interested in letters lately and animals are always a hit around here. I’ve thought about introducing letters before now, but he had a hard time telling the different letters apart. This was a big sign to me that he wasn’t ready. I feel it’s really important to wait until he’s ready before introducing concepts. It saves on so much frustration for both of us.
My enthusiasm for this unit has really showed in how many extra activities I’ve added. We love carrying our learning themes into our play and skills work. Mother Goose Time really provides the flexibility I need. I can stretch one day’s lessons over a week, skip days, or stay right on track. The letter A took us 2 days to complete. We will take 2 days (or more) with each letter. The extra time will reinforce the letter recognition and give us a chance to learn a little bit more about each of the animals. (I’m considering taking an entire week for B as the birds theme has so many possibilities.)
This is our setup for each letter. I collected all of our figures, magnets, flash cards and reusable stickers that feature the animals and letters we’ll be learning about. They will be presented with the theme poster and the daily posters. X was really drawn to the setup on the table right away.

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Day 1 suggested creating a zoo for children to play with. I took this a step further. X used our play silks to create a zoo with a variety of different habitats. We’ll be adding animals to our zoo as we learn about them and leaving the zoo set up for the whole month. X loved adding his alligators to the habitat and asked about what he (the zookeeper) should feed them. This was a great segway into further discussion about these fascinating animals.

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X really enjoyed the activities for Alligator. He particularly loved the puppet and building an alligator nest. I loved that he got a chance to work on cutting skills, fine motor and number recognition!

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He made a really big nest with lots of layers to keep the eggs safe and warm.

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We’ve been reading our bird books from the library all week and are excited to see what Mother Goose Time has for us to do tomorrow!