PreK learned a big word that is a HUGE part of their world...
Environment- the surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates. We brainstormed what was in our outdoor environment and what was in our classroom environment.
But, we couldn't stop there so we took it one step further in our classroom and we explored what environmental print was. This is a great topic for our pre-readers and early readers. Why? Environmental Print is the print of everyday life. It's the name given to the print that appears on signs, labels, and logos. Street signs, candy wrappers, labels on peanut butter, and the K in Kmart are other examples of environmental print.
Why is environmental print so important?
Children begin to 'read' environmental print, which is an important step in early literacy. This is the beginning stage when your child learns that print has meaning. The relationship between words and visual representation is an initial stage of the pre-reading process. Though adults don't think of this as true reading, it is and it is an important step in the process in the development of a child becoming a reader.
How many times have you driven past a Target in the car and you hear from the backseat,"Look Mom there is Target!" Children get excited when they can read print in their environment. It helps build their confidence and gets them excited about reading.
In the Classroom
Prior to our lesson, we asked families to collect as many pieces of environmental print as they could and send them into the classroom. Next, we thought of a place where we see a lot of print and after showing them a few cues like a cereal box, a carton of milk and an egg carton they soon concluded a grocery store is a place to find lots of environmental print. So we decided to build one. Poof! A grocery store has come to life as a center in our room, from carts to lists of what they need to buy to cash registers and of course food.
During small group time more connections were made. We introduced some more environmental print and we 'read' many of them as we looked for the beginning sound. An important lesson of this concept is learning that our letters are written representations of sounds and letters that are put in a special order to make words and words put together logically make sentences!
Each child picked out a environmental piece and wrote the words- 'I like----- and then glued the environmental piece down to show that print can be read as part of the sentence. The children read the sentence aloud and soon they were hung up for all to see.
So next time you are out driving around, have fun spotting all the environmental print while your out and about.
~ Shannon Fellin
Lead PreK Teacher