How do young children develop a sense of self?
A big program that we will be working on over the year with our pre-schoolers will be how to help them truly develop a Sense of Self and how to understand what that means for each and everyone as an individual.
Developing a sense of self and awareness of self as an infant and a young child can be a challenging thing, discovering body parts and where they all go in relation to one another is an interesting and fascinating thing to watch as they learn and discover. We started as a group working on the physical qualities of people, drawing a large person together in class with each child doing one specific part of the face.
And it was a very interesting process to watch! The children all started off quickly grabbing their pencils ready to draw what they thought a face should look like in their own mind and where things should go. But when asked to look at their own faces in the mirror to make it a real human face they all slowed right down, many having to really concentrate on where each part should go. In fact, some children found this level of concentration too hard, but that’s OK we are all at different levels of development and it will come in time as everyone learns and discovers.
Next, the children started to study faces, friends’ faces, and the personality traits that make us human. They had great fun using watercolours to paint their own faces, making faces out of faces, and seeing the effect that this had on their overall visual appearances and that of their friends – not to mention the fact that actually being allowed to paint their faces was such great fun, even our teachers loved getting in on the act!
Developing a sense of self – customizing the cubbies!
It never ceases to delight us when we realize just how much children actually know about letters in their own names or those of each other for that matter. One day at circle time one child held up a letters stone with the letter ‘E’ on it and declared that ‘E’ was for Emma. This demonstrates an early understanding of letters and how they work.
The experience led to the ‘cubby project’ allowing each child to customize their own cubbies with their names and in some cases dates of birth too.
With the help of their teacher Sam, each child got to put their names into the computer and started to take the steps to have the Cricut cut out each letter of their own name and date of birth. To complete their project the children then glued their letters and dates onto their own cubby labels.
It is a delight to see how diligently each child worked, they showed great pride in their own literacy skills and this is something they are working to develop more each day.