Recently I have noticed how many of our children seem to love our clip boards and I started to reflect on how essential clip boards are to our environment, so much so, that I can’t even imagine not having any around. There isn’t a day that goes past without the clip boards being used somewhere and yet they never get much of a mention, they are not really glamorous, however, they are indeed a very valuable and much loved resource at kindergarten.
At Mairtown we love open ended resources and clip boards are just that, an open ended resource that can be used in many different areas in the kindergarten and for our children to use to express their own ideas, feelings and thoughts. The teaching team puts a lot of effort and great thought into our entire environment. There are baskets of clip boards available not only inside but also the outside environment too, always readily available with pens, pencils, crayons and paper. It is a wonderful way to encourage and weave literacy throughout our environment.
“When children have access to loose parts, it frees their creativity and imagination to change the world around them in infinite ways. The more flexible are the materials in their environment, the greater the level of creativity and inventiveness they express.” Polly Neill, 2013
When I think of the clip boards from a child’s perspective, it is no wonder that they are so well loved as most kindergarten aged children love to transport; that’s moving things from one part of kindergarten to another as their play unfolds. That is what is so ideal about the clip boards as they can literally be ‘literacy on the go’ as a child moves around kindergarten, for example, from the construction area to water play and back inside to the family corner. I love how our children don’t seem to mind where they get creative using the clip boards. Early literacy isn’t limited to sitting at a table and chair with pencil and paper, using clip boards enables children to be wherever they choose, whether it’s sitting on the log resting the clip board on their lap or at the playpod equipment sitting in their ‘car’ drawing a map or lying on the grass drawing.
You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. (Maya Andrews)
On many occasions I have seen the children carry their clip board around proudly showing their work to others, or inviting peers to add to their work or play. In a sense, clip boards can become an essential tool for creating social interactions with other peers, as a way of expressing their feelings, thoughts and ideas and communicating these through drawing.
When drawing is used as a tool for communication, children are able to express themselves and make meaning out of the world around them. Using drawing as a means of communication helps the process of making ideas, thoughts, and feelings available to others (Adams, 2006).
I believe the one of the main benefits of having clip boards available is to support children with their early writing development, I don’t mean this as a time of learning how to write the alphabet, I view it as an important opportunity for children to learn how to make marks and representation on paper. It is about providing children, through their play, with opportunities to encourage early literacy. For instance this could include; drawing plans, signs, maps, letters, counting down crossings, lists, and tickets.
If children are to begin to see themselves as writers it is essential that we provide them with opportunities to role-play and to make marks and representations on paper. (S Palmer, R Bayley, & B Raban, 2013).
I’m sure that we all know children learn best when they learn through play. It is when these play experiences have been woven with early literacy that there are many benefits to our children’s lifelong learning. So the next time you see a clip board, hopefully you will think of it as a very valuable resource.
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