For our youngest students we offer an initial collage project. This is part of our station play, a set of self-directed, open-ended activities. Each station is a sensory-rich learning environment that encourages exploration. Children are free to be decision makers; they decide which stations to explore, how to engage with each one, and how long to play.
At our initial project station, we set up glue and collage materials. We have prepped the correct initial for each child by cutting it from oak tag and have it ready for when they come to this station. With some guidance from the instructors and their caregivers, the 1.5 – 2.5 year olds in this class choose the objects to decorate their initial. In this case, cut patterned paper is provided.
For our older class of 2 ½ – 4 year olds, we do a watercolor painting project. Again, we have prepped initials for all our young students ahead of time. For this project we use sharpie to draw a large open initial on watercolor paper. When it is time to hand them out, the instructor holds up one letter at a time for the children to identify theirs. They all quietly and excitedly await their turn for their initial to be held up.
After a lesson on watercolors and how to use them, the students go ahead and paint their initials. We discuss interior and exterior space concepts as well as the logistics of using watercolors.
Children of all ages love their “special letter” projects, proud to have decorated their initial just as they desire.