Have you ever stopped to consider what a simple blank piece of paper can mean to a child? This sometimes meaningless item to us as adults is an exciting invitation for a child to be able to share a work of art and communicate a meaningful story with whomever will listen.
As a former upper grade teacher, I never really thought about the power behind a simple blank sheet, but as I began my journey in working with preschool children, I started noticing how it was more than just a piece of paper. Initially, a blank sheet of paper was insignificant. It was just a place to jot down my grocery list or doodle when I was bored. However, to young writers, this valuable treasure is a stage on which they are able to voice their story. Children’s imagination and creativity is limitless and as you stop and observe a child who takes hold of a piece of paper and a few writing utensils, you will clearly see how it transforms into an outlet where they freely release, without bias or judgment, their unique thoughts and ideas.
As adult writers, we know how difficult it is to stare at a white page and wonder, “Where do I start?” Writing is like problem solving. Writing allows our imagination to think and brainstorm ideas by synthesizing information around us. We then evaluate those thoughts and ideas to create a plan of what we want to say, bringing our story to life. Finally, we analyze our creation to ensure the story is stated correctly. As adults, these critical components in writing seem impossible for a preschooler. However, if you embrace their creativity, guide their aspirations, and provide them with encouragement to express their voice, you will see how they too will evolve into strategic and methodical writers. Why? Because you believed in their repertoire both as a preschooler and a writer.
Therefore, if you really think about it, writing is like a white diamond. It has many critical thinking facets. If we clasp onto it and allow it to enhance and grow, it will create skilled writers that will begin to transfer those skills to all areas of their lives. So, what are we waiting for? Let the writing begin!
Ray, K. W., & Glover, M. (2008). Already Ready: Nurturing Writers in Preschool and Kindergarten. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.