Tomorrow is the last day of the school year and my children will be on their long summer break. I really want to maintain Otis' writing skills and noticed that some materials in his art area weren't being used. It's really important that we observe our children, take out materials that are not being used and bring in materials that spark an interest and are developmentally appropriate. Otis had two art shelves so I moved all the materials he was using onto one shelf (mainly paints and wood work) and removed the materials he wasn't using. I cleared the other shelf and put together a writing station!
I also sanded down our art table, it took a couple of hours but I was able to remove the paint and now have a nice and smooth (and clean) writing surface. Here are the materials Otis (5 years) has in his Writing Station;
- Movable alphabet - this also includes phonograms.
- Pencils, erasers, pencil sharpeners, scissors, ruler, crayons.
- Lined paper, carefully consider the spacing of the lines, we chose the same line spacing that Otis is currently using at school for consistency - Queensland Year 1 exercise book.
- Blank, coloured paper and card, A4 and A5 - coloured card is good for making gift cards or for covers of books.
- Graph paper, tracing paper.
- Ruled index cards and storage container - my kids love making books or notes or lists on index cards!
- Child size stapler, string/ribbon, tape, single (easy to use) hole-punch and hinged rings - all material to help a child make their own book.
- Name cards - the names of your close family and friends so the child can use them to spell and write letters or send cards (especially useful at this time of the year).
- Personalised dictionary - a dictionary or blank book where you can write down your child's most commonly asked spelling words. Spelling generally isn't a focus in this period of development, however, a personalised dictionary towards the end of the period can help a child who is asking repeatedly for the spelling of the same words.
- Small whiteboard with markers - many Montessori families would prefer children use a blackboard but currently Otis is loving the ease of the whiteboard.
- Cursive practice sheet - useful if your child is learning cursive and is getting stuck on or focusing on one or two letters. To be used as a reference only after the child has mastered the sandpaper letters.
- Date stamp.
- Sight word cards - useful if your child is learning sight words.
- Large work mat - for large writing/movable alphabet work on the floor, especially important for when children are starting to write big sentences.
Other ideas not shown;
- Sandpaper letters.
- Novelty notebooks - Otis loves his little Lego notebook.
- Envelopes, stamps, address book - for writing letters to friends and family.
- Chalkboard with chalk and duster or cleaning cloth.
- Sand tray.
- Alphabet stamps or stickers.
- Alphabet stencils.
- Recyclables such as boxes and cartons, perfect for drawing, writing on and creating.
- Printable worksheets - I actually really like these worksheets, you can design them yourself by selecting your font including cursive, spacing and the text. They are good for children learning to write their names.
- Alphabet books - you can see ours here. We also loved Montessori: Letter Work which has sandpaper letters.
- There are lots of other letter and sound games available. We have also used Wikki Stix to make letters.
- Clipboards for taking writing outside.
- Old magazines or newspapers (we love old National Geographic) for cutting out pictures, letter and words.
I always try to think ahead and get ideas of what my child might need or like to use next. It's much easier to collect materials bit by bit and have them at home for when the child is ready.
You might also like to read my post about a Letter Writing Tray - For a Four Year Old.
Some really inspiring and Montessori friendly writing centres can be found at;