Digger returned to our circle today, this time to introduce our new message area.
DH told Digger that her name starts with the same letter as his. This started a long discussion in which nearly every preschooler was excited to share some of the letters in their own name. After circle, working with the message center materials was one of the choices for explore time. Six children chose to stay in and make cards and messages.
Young children are curious and excited about communicating using print. They develop an understanding of concepts of print through a large variety of experiences with books, signs, lists, menus, computers, packages, etc. They witness their family members sending messages on their phones, writing grocery lists, following signs while driving or biking and taking notes. Through these observations they begin to understand writing as a powerful communication tool. At preschool we try to provide them with meaningful and supportive opportunities to explore the written word. Children are much more likely to stick with a challenging task like writing letters (which takes lots and lots of practice to refine) when there is a purpose behind it. They are also often buoyed by doing this type of work in the company of other children who are learning similar skills. Our message center with room for a couple of children and a variety of papers and writing tools is an aspect of our classroom environment that creates space for this type of learning.