Preschoolers are in the emergent stages of writing (pictures, scribbles and random letters). Experience Curriculum is created with tools to help you scaffold your child’s writing journey. My Little Journal is one of these tools sent each month in Experience Preschool kits for children to practice their emergent writing skills. While we offer a prompt in the front cover, we also want to provide creative ideas to extend the way you can use the journal. Let’s take a look at the varying ways you can do this.
Use a highlighter to write the letters or numbers in the space provided. Have your child try and trace the letters, both upper- and lowercase, along with the numbers. Can the child tell you what letter he is tracing? Throughout the day, ask, “Do you see this letter in the classroom?”
Write the number or letter with a white crayon in the area provided. Have the child “reveal” the mystery number and letters using watery paint. Once the mystery is revealed, ask the child to try to write the letter or number in the space on the bottom. Repeat. Encourage your child to write the mystery letter with the white crayon, too!
Write the desired letter or number in the blank space. Have your child trace this with glue and stick pieces of paper or yarn on the lines to create the letter or number. As an option, invite your child to trace the letter or number with a bottle of glue. Next, work together to sprinkle some glitter on top of it to create a sparkly letter or number!
Work together to count objects, like blocks or socks, aloud up to the desired number. Next, write the number in the journal. Encourage your child to write the number also. You can trace the letter with dotted lines and have your child trace, too.
Set up a chalk and sensory station outside. Use the chalk to write the desired number and draw that many corresponding stars. Ask your child to count the stars with you while you write. Have the child practice writing the number with the chalk in the My Little Journal first. Next, encourage your child to write the number on the ground with chalk. You can even invite your child to try and draw the stars!
How to Incorporate My Little Journals into Experience Preschool
My Little Journals are introduced in the Experience Preschool teacher guides at least once. Then, complete these booklets whenever works best for your program. Suggestions for when and how to use My Little Journals:
- Table top activity for morning activities or before pick up
- writing/coloring time while waiting for lunch
- Quiet time work if waking up from nap early
- Work together on the pages during Circle Time or large group time
- Choose one day a week to work on the booklets
- Take them outdoors for children who want a break from physical activity
- Put books in the writing center so chidlren can work on them independently with an example to guide the children’s work
How to Store My Little Journals
Educators sometimes wonder how and where to store My Little Journals for children to work on throughout the month. Space is always a concern in an early childhood environment! Here are some suggestions:
If you have wall space, use a large pocket chart to make journal access easy and within sight. Children can easily find and reach their own journal during free play time or center work time.
If you have wall space, use a large pocket chart like Ms. Vonda’s Pre-k uses, to make journal access easy and within sight. Children can easily find and reach their own journal during free play time or center work time.
Put all the journals in a basket. They can be stored in the writing center or at a table, or taken outdoors.
More My Little Journal Tips
Numbers and shapes are included in My Little Journals.
Journals may vary depending on the theme. For our dinosuar theme, preschoolers work in “Field Journals” and comic-style black and white journals are included with Let’s Be Superheroes.
Go beyond writing with collaging, stamping and incorporating nature items and make your own unique journals!
Provide an Example
If you are putting My Little Journals in the writing center for independent work, consider providing an example. By putting example pages on display, you can communicate what pages children should work on and give ideas on how they can complete the pages.
Take Journals Outdoors
Journals can be taken outdoors! Writing happens everywhere and drawings can be inspired by nature.
Journaling will vary by program and each individual child. Allow the children time and space to explore writing and drawing. Think of journals as a fun introduction to handwriting, with freedom to explore, not a right way or a wrong way.
Preschoolers should never be forced to sit and write. Instead, make learning letters and writing fun with collaging, drawing, tracing, and stickers. Sand writing trays and an excellent way to introduce writing and develop fine motor skills needed for future writing success.