Toddler School

Good Morning Mess Mat {Building Toddler School Routines}

Share the Sweetness
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The Mess Mat has a lot of great benefits all by itself including a waterproof,
spill proof and clean, designated space to be creative. It is an easy mom-system to implement and use. But one of the other great aspects
about using this technique as your free-movement classroom is that kids learn
to be structured without being inhibited, directed or controlled. You build a routine for them that they
get used to and then they are motivated within that organized space to create
and play because they know the rules and expectations.
How I build our ROUTINE:
I
use The Mess Mat three specific times per day as part of the routine; Morning,
after lunch and evening. See my Toddler Schedule System HERE. My mornings are the most structured, but least guided
if that makes sense. I have to do the most in the morning for the boys to be
successful, but then I just sit back and watch or play too. I plan it that way because I can prep while they’re still asleep. 
  • Mornings
    are for quiet discovery and play
  • Afternoons
    are educational and progressive
  • Evenings
    are free choice and mom survival

But I have
to enable all time blocks accordingly.

There are always options… The creative, fine motor play lesson, the education lesson, a themed book and a discovery box. He can then always choose to play in the Creativity Corner too. 
Our
routine is built this way so that when Cash walks out of his room in the morning
he is presented with options to dive into. I set out our lunch time activity on
the desk, and other choices around the Mess Mat. I don’t know what he’s going
to want to do in the morning so I give him options. He can then roam around
freely and choose what he wants to do for the blocked schedule. This
free-movement gives him a little bit of control.
I put the assumed least desirable lesson {hardest, most educational} literally in his walking path so he HAS to see it first. More often then not he stops at it and gives it a try… He can at least scope it out and know what he’s getting into later. He does KNOW that all 5 tasks will be visited today and that is a huge part of your teacher accountability when using The Mess Mat system beyond just creative play zones. 

Toddlers
do like to have a little power once in awhile and giving them choices throughout
the day really diffuses a lot of arguments later.

Sometimes
he will even want to do our education lesson first thing in the morning, which
is great! We then just flip flop the morning and afternoon. Or if he gets all
of my education goals accomplished for the day, he can watch a movie. There is flexibility
in the routine, and he knows that. He likes the options and the autonomy too.
It gives him a little control over his highly regulated schedule. This is GOOD
for your parent/toddler relationship, trust me!
How
are you setting up your Mess Mats at home?
Do
you teach in the morning, afternoon or evenings?
Be sure to check in on
our Mess Mat Toddler School Activities every morning on

& follow along
with #TheMessMat

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