Self-expression may come in the form of art, music, writing, or actions. Early childhood classrooms are the perfect space to support a child’s blossoming self by allowing them a safe and structured place to express themselves in any way they wish. Exploring their own self-expression may look like child’s play because it is! Children learn through play and learn through exploring, and this is where they discover the most about themselves.
Some suggestions for supporting a child’s self-expression in the early childhood classroom:
- Offer open-ended supplies and make them readily available
- Don’t direct, but instead guide by asking questions that may unlock new discoveries
- Let children take risks within safe boundaries
- Give children space to explore, both physically and psychologically
- Listen to what the children have to say. Self-expression is also vital to a child’s emotions
- Get to know the children in your care and understand what they value as well as what they need
Having access to open-ended materials and play items allows children of all ages to express themselves. Whether this includes art materials, blocks, play dough, or other items will depend upon what your students need and enjoy. These items should be changed based upon the development and interest levels of your students. Also, many adaptations can be made to existing materials in order for them to remain up to date and current.