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Writing in Preschool with the Creativity Journal

Do you struggle to get preschoolers excited about writing? Is your writing center one of the least popular centers in your classroom? Want to bring writing into your preschool classroom without demanding the use of journal prompts or handwriting practice?

Yep- me too.  All of the above.

My goals for my students when it comes to writing in preschool are…

  1. for creativity to bloom. I have always hated a writing prompt, I truly believe children should be allowed to put their own thoughts and ideas onto paper in a way that is meaningful to them.
  2. for writing tools to be in those little hands! The more they explore with writing tools, the better their grasp and comfort level will be with them.
  3. to see growth. Throughout the year, are they moving beyond drawing and scribbling to mock-letters or letter strings?

But, here is where the problem comes in.

These goals I have for writing and preschool are all well and good. But, from what I have observed over the years this isn’t always something that just magically occurs.

Most children hop on into the writing center. Grab a piece of paper, draw or scribble on it (maybe write their name) and they move on. 

Why? Well, my educated guess would be that they don’t know what to do.  It’s too open-ended. If students haven’t seen too much writing modeled or haven’t been taught about (and been included in) different types of writing than the idea of ‘writing’ really is foreign.

So… how do we bridge the gap? There has gotta be a solution between completely open-ended and ‘write/draw about what I say to’.

I tried a couple of things, did a little trial and error and found that YES- there is a bridge…. and I call it…

The Creativity Journal

A way to encourage children to pick up those writing tools, while also allowing creativity- with some structure sprinkled in.

How? By providing simple shapes, seasonal shapes, lines, stickers/stamps and real items to prompt creativity.

When a circle has already been created inside a journal or on a journal page, what will students do with it? 

Well, the possibilities are nearly endless!

In the photos below one child created letter like forms below the circle (labeling perhaps?). Another made scribbles that represent mock writing inside the circle. And the last made lots of continuous circles with a marker.

Here is another example of three pre-made circles on top of one another to be a snowman. One child added parts to the snowman, while another re-created the shape on another page of paper.

I also found that children were excited to come to the writing center and see what was ready for them to journal about this week.

So, to say I was excited to have come up with a solution to my problem while also meeting my original goals might have been an understatement *Happy DANCE!*

✅ creativity and individuality allowed

✅ explore the use of writing tools

✅ seeing growth through the Stages of Emergent Writing 

I call that a WIN!

Learn more about the writing in preschool with a Creativity Journal here and get your preschoolers excited about writing.

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I love helping preschool teachers be the best they can be, by providing quality resources and sharing fun ideas!

If you’re looking for play-based learning ideas, free trainings and all things preschool – you are in the right place!