Children bring their environment and personal experiences into the classroom every day. Experiences such as shopping at a grocery store, waiting for a VIA bus, or walking down the street may seem to be a simple task. Nevertheless, these experiences help build upon prior knowledge, schema, language, and vocabulary development.
Here are four ways to use the environment as a teaching tool for children:
1. Take a walk around the neighborhood- Traffic signs are only one of many things that can be used to teach children about print, signs, and symbols in their environment. Take a walk around your neighborhood: What signs, symbols, letters can you find? These opportunities are a great way to provide meaningful learning opportunities for children.
2. Take a trip to you local grocery/department store- Who would have thought a teachable moment could happen while picking up items from the grocery list? Coupons, ads, and food labels are a few of many fun finds to explore . Engaging children in these activities will further develop language and create other teachable moments for children.
3. Make a stop at a restaurant or food chain- Celebrations, convenience, or hunger are a few commonalities we share with food. Did you know that restaurant signs and menus are another opportunity to teach children about print?
4. I Spy- Here's a simple tip. On your next visit to a school, home, movie theater, park, or other environment engage with children to see what letters can be found? Can you find a letter in your name? You may be surprised by the quantity and various types of print. that can be found.