Review: Cullen's ABC's Free Online Preschool Program

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What is Cullen’s ABC’s Online Preschool Program?
Cullen’s Online Preschool Program is a series of twelve complete preschool days that you can use with your own child(ren) or a group of children to offer them a complete preschool in the comfort of your own home.
Who is Cullen?
According to her website Cullen’s ABC’s, Cullen:

…has been working with young children since 1994; falling in love with her profession from the start. Her career began as a Day Care instructor and transitioned to Preschool, teaching three and four year olds. Cullen was soon named Preschool Director and successfully influenced the program’s direction for many years. However, she realized her true love and passion was teaching. So, now she has channeled her enthusiasm and experience back into teaching Preschool children.

I was familiar with come of Cullen’s other work from her YouTube channel, and I was excited to review her new online preschool program.  While I did not previously know her background, I was not surprised to find out the she specializes in the education of young children.  That background, and her love of kids, is evident in everything that she does.

Update 9/2/2010 The new website is now 100% free for registered users. You should definately check it out! ~ Tony

How Does an Online Preschool Work?
Online preschool works just like any other preschool with one minor exception – the lead teacher (Cullen) interacts with the children exclusively through the use of online videos.  With the help of a “Teacher’s Helper” (i.e., the grownup teaching the child), Cullen guides you through each preschool day.  The kid(s) will spend part of the preschool day listening to Cullen and part of the day working through activities with you.  The videos are very clear about when you should pause Cullen and engage with the kids as the Teacher’s Helper.  The preschool day package includes detailed instructions/suggestions on how to prepare your “classroom” and on how to do each days activities.  You determine which and how many days of the week you will do the preschool lessons.
How Does A Normal Day Work?
While each day varies in what the children are taught, the format and flow of the day is always the same.  The structure is great for young children as it gives them benchmarks to know where they are in the progression of each day.
Each day starts with Circle Time, and of course the circle time song.  Circle time starts with an introduction to that day’s themes and the “Hi There!” song.  The next segment of Circle time involves selecting the “Special Helper” for the day.  The process for doing this is explained in the introductory video.  From there, each day moves into calendar time introduced by the “Day of the Week” song.  I have to admit that by the second or third time I heard the song, even I was singing along.  It’s then time for the Teacher’s Helper to pause the video and discuss the name of the month, day of the week and number of the day.  Again, this process is explained in detail in the Circle Time introductory video.  From calendar time, you move into weather time in which you discuss the types of weather and the “Teacher Helper” discusses what the weather is like today where you live.
From there, Ms. Cullen moves into a discussion of the theme and topic for the day.  In the free demo day, the theme is weather and the topic is the four seasons.  In her discussion of the seasons, Ms. Cullen along with her sidekick “Gator” shows pictures of the four seasons and shows pieces of clothing and encourages the kids to figure out what type of weather (and season) they would wear those clothes in.  From there, the Teacher’s Helper leads the kids in singing a song.  For the free demo day, the song is “Mr. Sun.”  There is another video included of Ms. Cullen singing that song which you can use to either learn the song or to play for the children.
The next section for each day is called “Letters.”  The points of this section is to teach kids about upper and lower case letters in the alphabet and the sounds that those letters make.  In order to do this, Ms. Cullen uses food that starts with each letter of the alphabet.  There is one rule for this part of the lesson – each child has to try each of the foods.  I think this is an awesome idea for teaching kids not only the letters of the alphabet but exposing them to new foods.  Each day comes with a “Prep Video” to get the teacher prepared for that day.  For the demo day, the letter is “W.” The upper and lowercase version of the letters are shown, the sound of the letter is reviewed, and the foods selected to demonstrate the letter are Wheaties, Wheat Thins, and Water.  In addition to learning the letter itself, this segment is also used to discuss colors, shapes, textures, temperature, and other descriptive words for food.
From Letter Time the day moves into Worship time which starts with a Bible verse.  For the demo day, the verse is Numbers 10:29.  Cullen reads the verse and then discusses it with the kids.  She has them repeat the verse after her and then tells a story to the kids.  For the demo day, the story is the story of Noah building the ark.  The story includes various pictures for the kids to look at.  After the story, worship time ends with prayer.
From Worship Time, the day moves into its final section – Arts and Science time.  This portion of the day includes the kids doing some sort of hands on activity.  There is an introductory video for each activity to show the Teacher’s Helper how the activity is done.
What Themes and Days are Available?
Right now, there are a total four different themes available with three days each for a total of twelve days.  They are:

    Day 1 – Four Seasons, Day 2 – Clouds, Day 3 – Rainbows
    Day 1 – Stars, Day 2 – Earth, Day 3 – Outer Space
    Day 1 – Spiders, Day 2 – Butterflies, Day 3 – Lady Bugs
    Day 1 – Sheep, Day 2 – Pigs, Day 3 – Bears

What is the price?
Individual days can be purchased for $4.99.  You can also purchase the three days that make up an individual theme as a package for $14.99.  If you would like to use the online preschool but can’t afford it, you can contact Cullen’s Online Preschool to inquire about their Cullen’s Compassion Offer.  I think this program alone demonstrates Cullen’s love for children and the education of younger children.  In the end, that is what she is really all about.
What is my recommendation?
I love this resource!  As the father of four kids (three of whom have been through pre-school and another who starts next year), I have seen several different preschool programs.  This one is as good as any of them.  Obviously, a large part of how successful this program will be for you will depend on how involved you as a parent get in it as the Teacher’s Helper.  This is not intended to be the type of thing where you turn on a video and sit your kids in front of the TV to learn from a talking head.  This is meant to be an experience for you to enjoy along with your child, and an opportunity to participate in their education at a very formative time in their lives.
I would recommend this program to any parent of preschool age children.  It would also be a great thing for grandparents to do with their grandkids.  If you set up your online preschool to meet twice a week, this program will provide you with 6 full weeks worth of school for roughly $60.  With some creativity, I think you will also find that you can use these days more than once.  If you are looking for something you can do at home as your child’s only preschool experience, this is an awesome program.  Even if your kids are already enrolled in a traditional preschool program, this Cullen’s Online Preschool will be an awesome supplement to that education.  Regardless of your circumstances, this program offers an amazing and affordable opportunity for you and your children.
For more information, check out their website at

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