Writing Through Play
I have found that children will naturally engage in writing through play when the opportunity is given. When writing occurs through play children can become confident and believe they are good at writing. Confidence is incredibly important in the early learning class and play helps children to feel successful. I have noticed when I “force” writing by saying today we are going to write, I will immediately hear at least one little voice say, “I can’t write”! As educators I am sure you have seen this!
Here are my tips for fostering and developing early writing in your class
1. Provide real opportunities for writing through real dramatic play experiences
Consider carefully the writing opportunities in each dramatic play center. For example we have a Honey Bee Restaurant in out class. Waitiers will take a clipboard and write down orders to pass on to the chef. Writing can be done in most centers and experiences. Simple experiences like painting can involve the child writing their name on their paper.
2. Always have materials to write with available and keep them varied
Present materials in an inviting and creative way.
In my class we have a building and creating station. The children use wood and craft materials to create. I also have pens and markers and it is amazing how children will naturally write! Outside easels with chalk, clipboards with timers, writing letter station. The opportunities are endless!
3. Reinact real life play situations so you model how writing can happen
Using the restaurant as an example. Children must understand the roles that can be taken in play. To demonstrate each role is very powerful. Children identify through observation the role they can take. In the restaurant there is a waiter, customer, manager and chef. We talk about the roles that might be needed in each play center and what role they may like take. Demonstrating positive interactions will help children to communicate to one another. It is wonderful to stand back and see the children play and as a result write! Children who say they “can’t write” happily engage in early writing.
4. Build Confidence
Allow children to naturally engage in writing through play before mentioning they are writing. Fostering confidence first so each child in the class has had many experiences with early writing. Once children have had this experience they are unlikely to say they “can’t write”.