Introduction to the Basic 4 Year Curriculum
Welcome to, and thank you for using, the basic ABCJLM 4 Year Curriculum for children who will be attending kindergarten the following year. Remember to use the following Lesson Plans and links found here in an immediate-family, home setting only.
Each Lesson Plan includes:
Choose objectives and activities that are appropriate for your child and situation, and then incorporate them into the child's normal activities.
The Complete Curriculum is available to purchase in the 4 Year Curriculum Guide and Workbook.
Want to try the Complete 4 Year Curriculum? Download for FREE the Week 1 Lesson Plan and worksheets! Handprints designate items only included in the Complete 4 Year Curriculum. The online Basic 4 Year Curriculum and the Complete 4 Year Curriculum are not compatible.
Below a list of suggested items needed for the objectives in the Lesson Plan. Substitute these items as needed.
Tactile Letters and Numbers: l, i, T, t, I, Letters in First Name, 1
The objectives are goals for your child’s learning in a given week. I suggest using the Introduce, Practice, Identify teaching strategy to be successful in helping a child reach those goals. Choose the objectives that you want to cover. Not all objectives need to be covered each day; feel free to spread throughout the week.
Character Trait: Faith & Trust
Definition: Believing God will do what He says, believing in something that you cannot see
Opposite: Disbelief, not trusting, hopeless
Bible Story: Jesus Walks on Water
Objective: Keep your eyes on Jesus.
Scripture: Matthew 14:22-33
The New Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes: pg 296-297
The Beginner's Bible: pg 364-370
Through the Bible in Felt: Story #122
Who did the disciples think was walking on the water?
How did the disciples feel when they saw someone walking towards them?
What did Peter want to do?
Did Peter walk on the water?
Why did Peter start to sink?
Sometimes we forget to trust Jesus. Tell me about a time that you forgot to trust Jesus.
Verse: Proverbs 3:5 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
Steve Green – Hide 'Em In Your Heart, Vol 1 - #16
Bible Song: Deep and Wide (Traditional)
Deep and wide (put arms vertically, then horizontally),
Deep and wide
There’s a fountain (rain down with fingers)
Flowing (play piano with fingers)
Deep and wide
Optional – each time substitute the below words and say “hmmm” instead
1st Time - Deep
2nd Time - Deep, wide
3rd Time - Deep, wide, fountain
4th Time - Deep, wide, fountain, flowing
1st Time Example:
Hmmm and wide
Hmmm and wide
There's a fountain
Hmmm and wide
Books of the Bible: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
Math - Colors: Black, White, Blue, Brown, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red, Purple
Letters : l, i, T, t, I
l - body
i - down and dot
T - body and roof
t - down and cross
I - body, roof, floor
Straight down and then you’re done. That’s the way to make a one!
Information: First name - Trace the letters using tactile letters.
Book of the Week:
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin
Fine Motor Skill: Draw "My Family"
Gross Motor Skill: Put the Fire Out
Visual Perception Skill: Color Tracking Worksheets
Busy lives make it difficult to think of activities that pair well with learning objectives. Below, I’ve listed suggestions to help you teach the week’s objectives. Choose activities that your child would enjoy and that fit into your schedule. As often as possible, achieve the learning from books, play time, craft time, and current activities.
"I am Learning" Objective Poster:
Optional Addition: One of the best ways that I have found to keep track of what the child is to be introduced to (the objectives) and incorporate the objectives into daily activities and play is to use the "I am Learning..." Objective Poster. Transfer the objectives (above) to the sheet and hang it on your refrigerator or prominent place to help you and others remember the objectives for the week. By placing the poster in a dry erase pocket or a picture frame and using a dry erase marker, the sheet is reusable from week to week. Click to order this printable found in the 4 Year Workbook.
First Day of 4 Year Curriculum:
Print the First Day of Preschool poster to create a precious photo op to remember today. Be sure to tag #ABCJLM or @ABCJesusLovesMe when you post the image on social media!
Use the 4 Year Objective Checklist to determine what your child knows and to check learning progress throughout the curriculum.
Scope and Sequence:
Optional Addition: The Scope and Sequence explains what to teach and when to teach it. This is especially helpful to see in table form exactly what the curriculum introduces to the child and to and note planned review weeks. Use the spreadsheet to plan around special events and holidays, easily switch objectives if needed, or to combine curricula with more than one child. Click to order this printable found in the 4 Year Curriculum Guide.
- Unique to the 4 Year Curriculum, the curriculum introduces the child each week to a character trait through the support of a Bible story. Using this week's Bible story, discuss how Peter walked on the water when he trusted God. But as soon as he became afraid, he sank into the water.
- "Do You Have Faith?"
Give the child an apple. Ask the child, "What is inside the apple?" (seeds, the white part of the apple, juice) "I have a secret...there is really a star in the apple!" The child will probably doubt this statement. "How can we find out if there really is a star inside?" (cut open the apple) "Do you trust me that there is a star inside without us cutting it open?" (cut the apple from side to side through the seed part) Show the child how the seeds in the apple and the area around the seeds look like a star. Explain that just as the child had to have faith that you were correct about the star, we have faith that Jesus is real even though we can't see Him.
- Apple Prints
Extend the "Do You Have Faith?" activity by doing apple prints. Have the child write "I Have Faith" at the top of a piece of construction paper. Dab the apple several times onto a cloth to remove excess moisture. Place paint into a shallow tray. Have the child dip the apple into the paint (or paint the apple) and then stamp it on the paper.
- Big Thoughts for Little People: ABC's to Help You Grow is a book that I highly suggest you use throughout the curriculum to learn about Jesus and discuss character traits, as well as ABC's and phonetic sounds. Find suggested pages under the Character Trait Objectives; weeks like this one, however, do not contain one.
- Optional Addition:
Available as a digital download, the 10-page Character Training Digital Download combines on posters and individual cards the 20 character traits, definitions, opposite meanings, and Bible verses used in the 4 Year Curriculum. Print, post, hole punch, and bind together for easy access and mobility.
The goal of the 4 Year Curriculum is to take Bible stories to a deeper level. The Items Needed section includes page numbers corresponding to The Beginner’s Bible (when available), but you may use any children’s Bible. For variety, consider reading the same story from several Bibles. Be sure to read the Scripture for yourself to make sure you know the important story elements.
- Use the I am Looking at Jesus worksheet to remind the child to keep her eyes on Jesus. Have the child look in the mirror at her eyes to see the three main colors. Cut out the circles on the printable. Place the circles in order from biggest to smallest and glue on a piece of paper. Add the title “I am looking at Jesus”
- Color the first picture of Jesus and the boat on the Peter Walks to Jesus worksheet. Cut a slit along the dotted line. Color and cut out Peter on the second page. Glue the figure to a craft stick. Slide the stick into the slit and move Peter up and down in the water according to the story.
- He Walked Upon the Sea (Original Source Unknown)
Tune: Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Jesus did not need a boat,
He walked upon the sea.
-Complete Curriculum Addition: Another way to further Bible learning is to tell the story in an interactive way. The ABCJLM Interactive Bible Stories provide you with an age-appropriate script and comprehension questions to actively include the child in the story. All interactive stories are available to order as a digital download and include optional flannelgraph suggestions. These stories correlate with the Complete Curriculum only.
- While it is an investment, for toddler and preschoolers I believe flannelgraph is one of the best ways to teach Bible stories. Because of this, in each lesson plan, you will see story numbers associated to the Betty Lukens Through the Bible in Felt Teacher Manual. The Bible story, as well as a list of the needed flannelgraph scenes, characters, and props, are listed to help you tell the story. Read more about "Using Flannelgraph."
ABCJLM Video: Using Flannelgraph to Teach the Bible
- Click for more Jesus Walks on the Water Ideas...
Complete Curriculum Addition: Use these questions when planning the story and at the end of the week to check the child's understanding of the Bible story.
Each week includes a simple memory verse. Help the child memorize at least the key words..
The songs chosen are old "Sunday School" favorites and are added to enrich the curriculum. I included those songs that are familiar to most, but if unfamiliar, use any Bible song. Find most songs on YouTube, Spotify, or Amazon. Before teaching the song to your child, teach it to yourself. Then, teach the child the song slowly in small sections. Use the recording once the song is learned.
Books of the Bible:
To study the Bible, I believe everyone should know the order of the Books of the Bible. With a little help, most preschool children can master this task. The New Testament books have been divided into small group with a new group being introduced every 3-4 weeks in the curriculum. Use a song (as shared above), motions, or simply repetition to help your child. Click for more ABCJLM ideas on Teaching the Book of the Bible.
- Eat and discuss foods that represent many different colors (green beans, bananas, carrots, chocolate chip cookies, etc.)
- Using the Building with Color worksheet, create a caterpillar. Use the activity as an assessment tool.
Letters & Numbers:
ABCJLM uses a five-step process to help children develop good handwriting skills. If you are new to ABCJLM, please read Learning to Write to understand each of these steps.
1. Holding the Pencil Correctly - 2 Year Curriculum
2. Pre-Writing Worksheets - 2 & 3 Year Curriculum
3. 3" Tactile and Written Letters and Numbers - Basic 3 & 4 Year Curriculum
4. ABCJLM Letter and Number Progression Worksheets - Basic 4 Year Curriculum
5. ABCJLM Tracing Worksheets - 5 Year Curriculum
The 4 Year Curriculum focuses on writing all characters using a logical formation progression. Weeks 1-4 focus on "straight-line letters."
This week focus on letters l, i, T, t, I - characters written only with straight lines only. Before being placed on tracing paper, each formation is reviewed with tactile letters and numbers, and then created using crafts sticks, play dough, or pipe cleaners. When ready, use the Straight Line Characters worksheet to show the progression of the letters l, i, T, t, I. Be sure to say the Letter Formation Chants as the child creates each character. If this is not an appropriate level for your child, begin at the level iat which he can be successful. If in doubt, start a level below where you think he is ready.
- For repeat practice, I encourage you to place all writing worksheets in a dry erase pocket and write with a fine tip dry erase marker.
- If the child completed the 3 Year Curriculum, she created books containing letter and number posters. If not, I encourage you to create ones this year. Letter of the Week activities and books as well as posters to print are available on this website to further learning and develop fine motor skills or creativity.
- The My First Steps to Reading (also known as Sound Box ) and the My First Steps to Math books by Jane Moncure used to be a large part of the 4 Year Curriculum because I have found them to be the best books for teaching letters and numbers. Sadly, these books are no longer in print, and thus they have been removed them from the supplemental materials. Yet, I encourage you to search for these books at your library, on Amazon, or in used bookstores. They are that good!
• Calendar Activity - Begin each day with this activity to reinforce numbers, days of the week, and months of the year.
Information - First Name:
In the 3 Year Curriculum the child learned to write her name in all capital letters using 3” letters. In the Basic 4 Year Curriculum, the child learns how to write on 1” lined paper her first and last name using the correct combination of capital and lowercase letters. To begin the process, review the formation of each letter in her first name using tactile letters. Lay the tactile letters in order so the child begins to think of the letters as a "word" instead of individual letters. If letters are doubled, you may need to make extra tactile letters.
Book of the Week:
- Color the I Love My Shoes worksheet and add the name of the color to the sentence. Imagine with the child the object that turned his/her shoes that color. Create several different colored shoes and write your own version of the book.
- Pete could have gotten discouraged when troubles came his way, but he continued to be joyful. Use this story to discuss faith and trust in God even through the tough stuff.
- Click to view the story and listen to the song on a live video with the author, Eric Litwin.
Fine motor skills are activities that improve one’s ability to write and manipulate small objects. Gross motor skills involve large muscle movement (e.g. running, jumping, hopping etc.). These skills are important for pencil control, balance, and coordination. Each Lesson Plan includes an activity to improve the child’s fine and gross-motor skills. Also, refrain from using markers or pens in activities as they do not strengthen fine and gross muscles as much as crayons, painting, and pencils.
Fine Motor Skill:
Periodically throughout the curriculum, the child will be instructed to draw his family. This can be a daunted task for some children. Begin by demonstrating how to draw a person. Use simple shapes for parts and explain what you are doing as you draw. Let your child assist in the process. Later in the week, give your child a chance to try it himself. For more ideas read, "Teaching Your Child How to Draw a Person."
• Gross Motor Skill:
Play "Put the Fire Out" - a fun outside activity that involves sidewalk chalk, water, and a sponge. Begin by drawing a ladder on cement with sidewalk chalk. Draw a fire at the top of the ladder. Place a bucket and a sponge at the bottom of the ladder. Have the child wet the sponge and jump between the rungs of the ladder to get to the fire. Once at the fire, squeeze the sponge over the fire to put it out! (Idea from YourTherapySource.com)
• Visual Perception Skill:
Along with fine and gross motor activities, each Lesson Plan in the 4 and 5 Year Curricula contains visual perception activities. Visual perception is the translation between the eyes and the brain. Correct translation is imperative to reading and writing. These activities can help correct visual perception issues as well as strengthen the brain and eye communication. While one activity may be difficult for your child, another may be simple.
For the first week, use the Color Tracking Visual Perception Worksheets. Ask the child to color certain shapes, certain colors. Highlight the color words the correct color to help the child associate the word with the color. Use this activity to help the child search for items left to right and row by row. Another option is to assign each shape a colored candy. Ask the child to lay the correct colored candy on the corresponding shape.
For additional practice, purchase the Visual Perception Workbook.
- Create a family tradition of making homemade ice cream in a bag or in a coffee can.
1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup milk, cream, or half and half
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Place the three ingredients in a quart-sized ziptop bag or a small coffee can. Mix and seal the container very well. Because the seal may not hold through the mixing process, you may want to tape the seals closed. If possible, refrigerate this mixture for a few hours to speed up the freezing process. Place the well-sealed ziptop bag in a gallon-sized ziptop bag or the small coffee can inside a large coffee can. Place crushed ice cubes and approximately 1/2 cup rock salt inside the larger containers to surround the smaller bag or can. Seal the larger bag or coffee can very well. Then shake and roll the containers for 5-10 minutes until the mixture turns into ice cream. Carefully open the smaller container making sure that the water and salt freezing ingredients do not come in contact with the ice cream. Grab a spoon and enjoy!
• Be sure to look over the Development Guide - 4 Year so that you are familiar with developmental milestones for your child's age.
Optional Addition: Below is a Daily Schedule dividing the Lesson Plan into a week's time. Beyond Week 1, the Daily Schedules are not provided on the website but are available in the 4 Year Curriculum Guide.
|Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4|
|Bible Story||Jesus Walks on Water||Comprehension Questions|
|Bible Activities||Jesus Walks on the Water||“I am Looking at Jesus”|
|Character Trait||Do You Have Faith?||Apple Prints|
|Verse||Proverbs 3:5 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.|
|Song||Deep and Wide||Deep and Wide||Deep and Wide||Deep and Wide|
|Information||Tactile Letters||Tactile Letters||Tactile Letters||Tactile Letters|
|New Testament||Matthew, Mark, Luke, John||Matthew, Mark, Luke, John||Matthew, Mark, Luke, John||Matthew, Mark, Luke, John|
|Math||Building with Colors|
|Numbers/Letters||Tactile Letters||Popsicle Sticks||Straight Line Characters|
|Book of the Week||Read||Read||“I Love My Shoes”||Read|
|Skills||Draw “My Family”||Play “Put the Fire Out”||Worksheets|
|Other||Objective Checklist||Objective Checklist||Homemade Ice Cream|
Warning: All information on the ABCJesusLovesMe website, on Facebook Groups under the ABCJLM name, and on the Our Out-of-Sync Life blog is for general information purposes only. All the activities and ideas shared require adult supervision and children under the age of three should not participate in activities in which small pieces are involved. Also, what works with one child may not work with all children. ABCJesusLovesMe, as well as Our Out-of-Sync Life, contain suggestions and all should be taken simply as suggestions. Please seek the advice of a professional when questions arise.
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