“A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” – Dale Carnegie.
Think about your classroom at the beginning of the school year. How do you prepare for a classroom of bright, new faces? Do you display the children’s names on their cubbies or hang children’s photos and names on a welcoming display in the classroom? Do you review your class roster and become familiar with everyone’s name so that you can greet children on the first day to help make that first connection with the children?
Displaying children’s names sends a message that they are welcome and an important part of the classroom community and can help foster a sense of belonging during that beginning of the year transition.
Throughout the year, children’s names can be used throughout the classroom to create connections and help children to learn more about each other. Children’s names and photos can be used on the center choice chart to help them decide where they would like to play and to see which centers their friends are playing in. Class graphs, charts or murals with children’s names give children opportunities to create, collaborate, provide information or make decisions. Class created books or individualized artwork with children’s names and dictation displayed throughout the classroom gives children a sense of pride and lets them know that their work is valued.
Greeting children by name upon arrival and referring to children by their names when talking to them shows respect for children and lets them know that you are talking directly to them, and not to the group or the child next to them. Singing name games is a fun large or small group activity that children enjoy. The links below will take you to videos of some fun songs to sing with children to build community and encourage name recognition.
You are Here Today: Storytime Welcome Song
Mr. Sun, Sun Circle Time Name Song
Follow the link below for a list of books that teach children about the importance of names-
Seven Picture Books and Classroom Activities to Introduce the Importance of Names