A close friend asked if I would be willing to help her create a writing area for her six-year-old daughter. We had a great time creating a space with the intent of inspiring spontaneous writing for authentic purposes. We also did a bit of reorganizing so that her daughter’s toys were more readily accessible, which helps to foster independence.
While working as both a teacher and administrator, I was profoundly aware of how the physical environment shapes the behavior of children. The same is true for the home environment as well. It is amazing how a well-stocked, organized writing center, subtly encourages young children to write. I am happy to report that this 6-year-old came home and got right to work making cards and writing letters to loved ones.
We printed labels and covered them with clear contact paper so that the toys were easily identifiable and accessible. Photos and words help to foster independence and create a print-rich environment for emergent readers.