A few months ago, a good friend, who had been using our Wonderful World program, asked me if I could work on a program for her to teach her child about letters, numbers, shapes, and colors. She wanted to see if I could do it with the same integrated approach I brought to my first Orange Level program and make it accessible for her child, who is neuro-diverse.
My very first thought was to wonder what that would even look like. How would I build that? But it didn’t take long for a vision to start to formulate.
An idea takes shape.
I realized that, as an OT, I would want to teach letters in a logical way. In a way that related to their shape, not necessarily alphabetical order or sound. We would start with writing just in capital letters. Because the physical strokes to make capital letters are simple and easy for kids to learn to form first.
We would need to make it multi-sensory and teach kids how to write differently than other programs I had used. I knew from years of teaching handwriting to many children that I had to come up with a way that would work for both typical and non-typical kids.
I knew I also wanted to tie in some phonics lessons and teach the letter sounds as we went.
Every lesson needed to have hands-on activities, be interactive, and be, once again, centered around a great picture book. Because books bring meaning to so much of the education I want to share with children.
And I had to do one more thing. I had to find a way to cut the program down to be shorter than 26 weeks. I had tried to use those “Letter of the Week” type programs with my own kids and I hated them. They always started out great. But by halfway through the alphabet, I was ready to throw in the towel.
Then an idea becomes reality!
So I created a program that is only 16 weeks long! Several weeks teach two letters that are similar in shape or sound. This lets kids move through the alphabet more quickly. You always have the option to slow down, of course. But this way, you don’t have to wonder about how to speed up. The new Fundamentals and Foundations program can be completed in a single semester, leaving you time in your school year to work on the next level of skills your child is ready for.
This program is written with all the care of an occupational therapist and a mom of neuro-diverse kids. It has flexibility and encouragement to help your child gain the skills they need, at the start of their academic career. And in keeping with the spirit of our color-coded level system, it is adaptable to a wide range of ages and developmental abilities just like our other Level: Orange program, Wonderful World.
We are still working on the finishing touches at this point. Creating the worksheets and formatting the main body of the program into an easy-to-use curriculum for you and your child. I’m really excited about this one. I know I say that about every program, but it’s true. I think Fundamentals and Foundations is shaping up to be a great program that can be used by a wide range of children to learn to form letters properly, learn phonics, numbers, and so much more.
Want to be kept in the loop?
If you are curious about this new program, please make sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook as well as sign up for our mailing list. We’ll be sharing info about the development and give you a sneak peek at the program over the several weeks as we finish production. And of course, once it’s ready, we will let everyone know.
About the Author
Laura Sowdon, OTR/L is an occupational therapist, writer, speaker, educator and creator of the Five Senses Literature Lessons homeschool curriculum. She has worked as an occupational therapist with children in public and private schools, as well as private practice. Laura has taught and managed homeschool co-ops as well as homeschooling her own three children. Laura is dedicated to the idea of educating children at a pace that aligns with brain and physical development milestones and respects neurodiversity in all its forms.