Preschool will be starting just around the corner. I have been working in my classroom decorating and preparing for my new group of 3 year olds. There are so many things we focus on throughout the year but a major one is name recognition. A few may come in knowing how to spell their first name but not most of them. So this is something we work on everyday.
Each child has a name tag on their cubby. This helps them see their name each time they hang up their backpack or put work in their cubby. Hopefully they begin to learn what it looks like. I have also created these block letter name plates for each child to color the first week of school. They will hang in the classroom and be another reference point we can use throughout the year.
We start out by focusing on the first letter of their name and lead up to whole name activities later on. One easy thing to do is just draw the letter on a piece of paper. Then have them place things along the lines of the letter. We like incorporating this into the themes we do each week. Here are a variety of examples:
dot markers...dot all along the line of the letter or use dot marker letter worksheets like these.
stamps...using a small stamp, sponge or spool, follow along the line, stamping one right after another. We like to use thread spools in paint during the winter to look like snowflakes.
small objects...use cotton balls, pompoms, buttons or other small items and place them along the letter lines.
markers...have the child trace the line using a marker or other writing utensil. You could also place the paper in a page protector and have the child use a dry erase marker. This enables them to practice several times in a row.
Name reveals are another fun way to learn the letters of their name. Use tape to create a letter and then have the child paint over it, remove the tape to see the letter. You could also use a white crayon to write their name on white paper. Have them water color paint all over the paper to find the letters in their name.
At circle time we talk about the month and what letter it starts with. This is a good opportunity to ask if anyone's name starts with that letter. We also play games using their first letters. I might say, "if your name starts with an M", then give them a directive to complete. I use this same technique for lining up to go to recess. It is fun to see them not only begin to recognize their letters but those of their friends as well!
Another fun game for circle time is to put letters on the floor using tape, then call out a letter and have the child jump on that letter.
Preschoolers LOVE sensory bins! Fill up a bin with rice, beans, cotton balls, etc. and then hide letters in the bin. Have the children dig in the bin and pull out a letter. If it is not the first letter of their name have them put it back and try again.
Whether it is seeing the letter on a project, hearing the letter or seeing it on a sign or book, there are never too many ways to incorporate letter recognition into your day to day! Especially if you turn it into a game or a craft, they won't even realize they are learning!!!