This year at work, one of my goals was to create a themed dramatic play area for each month of the school year.
In the month of December, I created what has turned out to be one of my favorite themes yet.
The students work with a program in my school which is very similar to a gym class, however it gears more toward the social and emotional aspect that so many PreK students crave when they are 4 or 5 years old. During the month of December, the theme for our social emotional program was Giving. The students talked about the holidays in December, Christmas and Hanukkah. One word. PRESENTS! What 4 or 5 year old isn’t excited about getting gifts!? But, we did not what “presents” to become the topic of discussion for this month. Instead, we talked to the students about giving things other than gifts that could make a person happy, such as compliments.
In my dramatic play area, I created a alphabet strip that showed the students how to start a sentence in order to give a compliment, “I like when you ________”. By writing it this way verses “I like ______”, the students were forced to give a compliment about someone’s actions instead of materialistic items. For example, students could write, “I like when you shared a toy with me” verses “I like your dress”.
I also created little stamps that students would glue onto their post card and then I made a mail box out of a cardboard box and painted it blue (a DIY! See, told you I am obsessed!)
Each month, I created a “words of the month” word wall. The words for December included snow, boots, post office, mailbox, etc.
This dramatic play area encompassed literacy skills- writing and reading, as well as fine motor skills when writing and, in my opinion one of the most important skills in PreK, social emotional skills.
At the end of each week, I placed each post card into an envelope to send home with the corresponding child’s name on it. Every single student received at least one postcard a week because I made a checkoff list to ensure everyone had one as the week progressed.
Students then would open their envelope and read the nice compliments that their peers wrote them.
My classroom benefited from this dramatic play area immensely. I saw more kind words within my classroom walls as well as more thoughtful students.