Tony and I have decided (well - Tony nodded when I suggested the idea) that rather than sending "M" to preschool next year, we are going to do our own version of preschool at home. We chose to do a combination of a wonderful literature-based resource called Before Five in a Row, and a more montessori-based method of "purposeful play". We will focus on learning through literature and play with a new book to "row" and new play-based activities each week.
We started this morning, by making sound shakers out of plastic Easter Eggs that had been floating around our house since "J" got them at school a few years ago. We filled them with a variety of items (rice, dried beans, screws, etc.) and taped them to make sure she couldn't get them open. These were a definite hit! Not only did "M" enjoy them, but "J" (who is 9) loved playing with them as well. They have made their way (nestled in an egg carton) into her activity boxes near her table. Here is a picture of "M" & "J" playing egg-music while we made breakfast.
We haven't come up with a name for our school at home yet, but we are still working on it!