Pre-Trip Planning

Montessori Child Development Center, Poway - Parent Testimonial

Before you leave check with the teacher to see what activities will be going on during vacation learning in the class that will be missed, i.e. Thanksgiving Play, Holiday Caroling. Have your child read books on the subject and make a poster about the subject:

Your child should be equipped with a “school bag” where all the supplies needed are kept together. This can be anything from a large zip lock type bag to a beach bag. The bag should contain the following:

Vary the items according to the age of the child. Determine how the minimum amount of time per day your child should focus on school work before you leave.


Take books to read both that parent reads and child can read. This is a great opportunity to learn something new. For instance if you go to Disneyland get a book about Walt Disney and read about his life or a book on animation and how it started. Create a journal that can be shared with pictures, drawn or printed. Record lessons so the teachers can follow up when you return.

  • Chronicle your adventures!
  • Keep track of travel itineraries, modes of transportation, length of trips (miles, hours) travel customs (i.e. passports, airport security, check-in times, pre-boarding activities), calculate distance and speed of the trip (# of miles per hr)
  • Map your route on a paper map using a highlighter use your compass to always point out the direction you are headed.
Girls Feeling the globe Parent Resources-Geography-Culture

Vacation Learning – Learn To Journal!

So you are going on a week or more for some vacation learning. Have a great time and learn as you go. You will be establishing in your child a lifelong practice and an abiding curiosity about the world and everything in it. Since your child is a Kindergartner (Montessori Child Development Center is a Three Year Kindergarten) this is an opportunity for your whole family to learn and your child to come back with experiences to share with fellow students. Older students can do much on their own, while younger ones may need more help from adults. Here is your assignment during vacation learning (be creative)–spend time daily:

  • Math, counting, recognizing numbers on signs and buildings, etc.
  • Reading/writing
  • Geography
  • Science (botany, zoology, astronomy, geology)
  • Practical Life–food, snacks, packing, unpacking, organizing, self care
  • Physical fitness, Brain Gym exercises, calisthenics, hiking, swimming
  • Paper (lined, blank, colored, card stock…), scrap book
  • Magnifying glass, compass
  • Pencils, pens, erasers, colored pencils, markers, crayons, ruler, tape, glue stick, paper clips, stapler
  • Clip board
  • Empty pill bottles, small zip bags for gathering treasures
  • Books for reading
  • Road Atlas, brochures, guide books, post cards of the area to be traveled
  • Camera
Kid keeping a food log
  • Record differences in the weather between home and vacation spots, record daily weather conditions include precipitation, temperatures (highs/lows), graph temperatures, compare temperatures between home and vacation destination
  • Keep a culinary log (what is the local food, how is it different/the same, keep track of everything you eat, compare with what you eat at home (more/less, same), prepare a sample menu for your vacation location, include local, seasonal foods.
  • Keep a cultural log (what are the national dances, musical preferences, languages spoken, clothing choices)
  • Keep a horticultural log (what plants are native to the region visited, what plants, flowers, fruit or vegetables are in season, or imported, compare with what produce is in season at home, or what we typically import for consumption at home)
  • Keep a reflective journal on what you do each day on vacation learning, where you go, what you see, what you thought about what you experienced
  • Collect items of interest that you can (legally) bring into California to show your class (i.e., do not bring coral back from the Caribbean, unless you purchase it, do not bring plants into California)
  • Do look for postcards, menus, placemats, crests, logos, shells, sand, interesting stones/rocks
  • Prepare a photo journal of your vacation, prepare a power point presentation, set slide to appropriate music, share with your class.
  • Draw a map of the area you are visiting. Add features like hotels, shops, police, hospitals, schools.
  • Keep a holiday budget (parents may give their child an amount of money to spend, i.e. $10). Start with the amount your child has to spend, show him/her how to record all expenditures (and any addition money s/he is given). Help your child complete a balance sheet for the duration of your trip.
  • Write a story about your vacation (fact or fiction). Read it to a child or class at school when you return.
  • READ daily– your child may read books at his/her level and parents read stories or guide books, etc. to the child/ren or as a family.

Do Some Geography During Vacation Learning!

Find things to count as you are going about your sightseeing, such as how many chairs are around the pool, write it in the journal. Have your child Find letters on road signs that spell his/her name in order then your name, brothers and sisters etc.

Do some geography, look at a paper map (yes, you can really still get them) and have your child follow where you are going. Be creative. Listen to what your child notices and build on it. Spell out words, talk about the trees, flowers, rocks, animals, buildings and help your child write things down in his/her journal. If s/he asks a question answer as factually as possible.

When you child returns to school he/she will share the experience with the class or in a group. This will spark interest in other research projects.

Don\'t forget to pack some games (NO VIDEO GAMES, PLEASE). Interactive games are an opportunity to bring the family together.

 Learn though Playing Games

Vacation Learning Family Games


  1. Card games: Uno, Yatzee, Go Fish, 21, War
  2. Dot-to-Dot, Word Searches, Chess, Checkers, Sorry, , Pictionary, Memory, Jigsaw Puzzles,
  3. Baseball, Volleyball, Basket Ball, Twister, Dancing, Swimming

*parents often ask where they can find the things suggested in our articles. Click on the items in blue or the pictures and see some ideas.