I disappeared right after Chinese New Year sewing. We threw ourselves into “homeschooling”…well, sort of. As the triplets’ peers started enrolling into childcare centers because everyone is turning 18 months the first half of the year, we find ourselves having lesser and lesser play-dates. So I have been preoccupied with transforming our home and schedules into a little nursery for the littler ones, and a preschool for Livia whose 3.5 years old.
Our schedule looks a little this:
The girls typically get up around 9am and they have breakfast. I usually prepare them a tinker table the night before that is filled with open-ended objects of play. It could be a sensory container, a diorama, magnets, wooden blocks, etc, which they engage in before and after breakfast (sometimes they wake up earlier than me so they have something to do while I sleep a little more). Then around 10am, my husband or I typically bring them outdoors to the park or playground. Sometimes its just outside our corridor and they do a bit of sand-play or water-play. Yup, we have our very own kinetic sand- and water- play areas. Its small but good enough for us. I plan to set up a tiny garden for them eventually so they can do a bit or gardening in the morning.
After all that morning activity, they are darn hungry for lunch. I prepare all meals in advance so I don’t have to cook in the day itself. All I have to do is warm-up meals. Then they have a bath and a two hour nap. While the triplets take a nap, Livia spends this time doing more age-appropriate preschool-like activities whether its experimenting with watercolors, collaging, cooking/baking, or sculpting Play-Doh. I usually use arts and crafts activities to teach her Math, Science and Literacy, like for example, tracing alphabets on a sand tray, or making geometric patterns with blocks. Sometimes I plan these activities, but most of the times I wing it. I am interested in engaging her in Inquiry-based learning where we explore topics she’s interested in to explore. They are very simple topics that encourage her curiosity and allows her to explore ideas more in-depth, but I am still reading up on how to do this meaningfully. I’ve generally been borrowing ideas from the Montessori approach when it comes to Livia so that its not academic at all, its very child-led, and we follow her pace of learning and her interests.
Sometime mid-afternoon the triplets get up from their nap and I give them a snack. Right after snacking, they do some collaborative play or projects with Livia. The past week they have been playing with Magna-tiles and light boxes and other times they do some art-jamming where I give them some art supplies and they create an art piece together. We also do quite a bit of reading in the evening – sometimes they flip through picture books on their own, and sometimes my husband and I read aloud to them. They really love books, which is really the only specific goal I ever had for their early childhood education, which was for them to love reading.
We have dinner around 6pm and then we head out again for some evening outdoors time. Its usually another round of going to the playground but it can also be a visit to the local library, going to the swimming pool, beach or the water-park. We live in an area where all these facilities are just 5 to 10 minutes away from us.
So the girls really play all day, everyday. By the time 8 or 9pm roll around, they happily march on off to bed, really tired after a full day of activities. I subscribe to a bunch of early childhood art educators on Facebook and so there is never a shortage of play ideas for the girls. And even when I have no interesting idea for them, they are happy engaging in their own made-up activities with whatever they find in their environment.
When my husband is off from work, we take that time to leave the neighbourhood and explore play in another part of Singapore. I think this is the first time since I delivered the triplets where I truly enjoyed being a mother of four. They are able to do a lot of things independently, clean up after they play, and help me with simple chores.
A lot of parents want their kids to learn the alphabet, know how to do simple addition and or socialize with other friends. Preschool has simply become an arduous prep course for Primary 1. I, on the other hand, have much, much simpler goals – for my children to have a meaningful childhood. Will they be ready for Primary 1? I don’t know – maybe they won’t. But that’s for me to deal with when they are 7, not when they are 2, 4 or 5 years old.
P.S: If you are interested to find out what we get up to all day more specifically, follow us on Instagram. I am more likely to update there, than here.