Preschoolers are continuously working on building their fine motor skills. They do this naturally through their play and through tasks built into their daily routines. This work on the small muscles of their hands, fingers, and wrists builds strength to ready them for more complicated tasks such as using scissors and writing. When setting up your preschool writing center it is important to keep in mind the different ways that your preschoolers can work on their fine motor skills beyond just writing and drawing. Here are a few ideas to help guide you on how to setup your preschool writing center.
1. KEEP IT ORGANIZED
Keeping your writing center organized will make it much easier for your preschoolers to learn and progress their writing skills through experimentation with a variety of open-ended writing materials. Make it easy for your preschoolers to find materials by storing items in labeled bins with clearly labeled places for the bins within the writing center. Keeping everything in the writing center neat and decluttered will also help your preschoolers to clean up independently.
2. PROVIDE A VARIETY OF WRITING MATERIALS
Providing paper, crayons, and markers are the more obvious items to include in your preschool writing center. There is so much more to include that can enhance your preschoolers’ experience though. Including things like stencils, hole punchers, and scissors in your writing center will not only give your preschoolers even more opportunities to work on their fine motor skills, it will also keep them more engaged. Your preschoolers can use the writing center to create various props to use in their pretend play. Your preschoolers can create menus, grocery lists, and even animal figures to enhance their pretend play. Here is a list of materials to consider including in your preschool writing center.
- Colored pencils
- Mini chalk boards & chalk
- Hole punchers
- Glue sticks
- School glue
- Construction paper
- Journal paper
- Plain white paper
3. INCLUDE ENVIRONMENTAL PRINT
Environmental print is the text that is around us all the time. Traffic signs and food labels are great examples of environmental print that adults use every day. Preschoolers are beginning to notice and show interest in this type of print, which then becomes their very first “reading” words. Including environmental print throughout your classroom, including in your preschool writing center, boosts your preschoolers’ vocabulary, reinforces phonics lessons, and encourages your preschoolers to write and even create their own environmental print.
4. PROVIDE WRITING PROMPTS
Preschoolers love to write, but sometimes they get a little stuck on what to write. They may just write letters or names and other words that they already know. While your preschoolers should always have the freedom to choose what they write, providing them with prompts can help progress their writing skills by encouraging them to write more.
Simple writing prompts such as, “When I woke up…”, that your preschoolers can easily relate to can be very powerful in your preschool classroom. These prompts will get your preschoolers to create stories with more and more detail. Another type of writing prompt that you can utilize is an idea chart. Collaborate with your preschoolers to come up with things that they can write about. Some ideas to start with that they can write about are their friends, family, and pets. Post the ideas that you come up with together, with pictures, in your preschool writing center to help guide your preschoolers.
How you set up your preschool writing center will support your preschoolers’ emerging writing skills and foster a love for learning. Be intentional in planning your setup, including what materials you have available to your preschoolers and when they may need to be changed out.