July is a month of vacation; late night runs to an ice cream parlor, sleeping in and garage sales. The last thing on our minds is setting up our centers or interest areas. Yet, as a teacher our summer vacation is not a vacation from our teacher mindset. We are always in teacher mode and without a doubt, when we go out to garage sales or resale stores we tend to, without planning, think about what knick-knacks to buy for our classroom. Therefore, I decided to prepare a list of items for you as you do some shopping this summer.
As Piaget specifies in his preoperational stage (ages 2- 7), kids learn through experiences. At this stage they begin to skillfully use symbols and role play to make sense of the world around them. For that reason, placing a variety of stimulating items out in the writing areas will, undoubtedly, foster a culture where students collaboratively play and learn together.
The following list has stimulating knick-knacks that would be ideal.
Writing Area Material List
Dry erase markers/ boards
Ziploc with gel
Sensory materials (rice & sand)
Feather with paints
Old business cards
Thank you cards
Christmas cards (thrift store)
These are great items that can cultivate and encourage students to visit the writing area. Yet, how you set them out should be intentional. The following are three things to consider when placing these items out:
Student social, emotional, and cognitive development
Usage and excitement of the writing area
The NAEYC position statement clearly outlines; “Children are active learners drawing on direct physical and social experiences as well as culturally transmitted knowledge to construct their own understanding of the world around them” (1997,7). Our focus should be to encourage our students to write and develop their understanding of becoming a writer; therefore, enhancing a writing area that provides social interaction with their peers is important. So, as you go through your summer, be on the lookout for some of these stimulating materials, and be prepared for a wonderful school year.