Manipulatives are an invaluable tool in any preschool classroom. They help students learn by allowing them to move from concrete experiences to abstract ones. Experts in education posit that this learning takes place in different stages.
For preschool children, the first stage involves symbolic thought. This refers to recognizing and labeling symbols that take on different meanings. Two examples of these are letters and numbers.
Seeing a letter, understanding that it is a symbol for something else (a sound), and then being able to create that letter is a difficult feat for any young learner. It is our goal to break up this reasoning into small steps that can be readily accessed by the young learner.
Manipulatives can also be important tools in helping students think and reason in more meaningful ways. By giving students concrete ways to compare and operate on such quantities, symbols, and other features can contribute to the development of well-grounded, interconnected understandings of different ideas.
For this activity, students used manipulatives to create the word STAR. They placed the manipulatives onto different points of the letters and then saw the final product!