Since we have started our program blog I have spent a lot of time looking at other early childhood blogs to see how they share information with families and other early childhood educators. This past weekend I saw several posts about beginning letter
identification by using the letters in a child's name. One of the things we know is that in order for children to make connections and retain information it has to
be meaningful. What better way to begin letter recognition then through beginning to identify the letters in their names? This is done several ways in the integrated preschool that are simple and can be recreated in any educational setting.
When the students arrive every day, they have to find their name tag on the door and check themselves in school by putting their name tag in a designated space. By engaging in this activity, children not only recognize their names, but also begin to practice one to one correspondence skills at circle time by placing their name tag on a number line. I'm always amazed at how quickly the children not only learn their name, but also the names of their peers. In one of the classrooms, when children move from center to center, they have to find their name and sign in. This idea not only works on name and letter recognition,but it also works on development of fine motor skills. Notice how the names are posted on the wall. This works on several aspects of development, such as the development of shoulder and hand strength, refinement of small muscle control, as well as proper wrist extension Teachers place the children's names on their spots on the rug. Some name tags have the child's entire name, others have the first letter of the child's name. Of course, children are always provided with name tags to put their name on their work. Some students can do this independently, other need models and some students require their name to be dotted out for them to trace.
All of these activities are embedded into the daily routine of the program. They facilitate not only name recognition, but also a connection to alphabet awareness in a developmentally appropriate, meaningful and contextual way.