What we have been practicing with our sand play (and block play) is a kind of a "build it, draw it, write about it" philosophy. After we build it, we sketch it, then we write about it. Not too complicated, but the results are what I am most impressed with.
We build it:
We draw it:
We write about it:
Instead of trying to come up with something new each day to write about in our writing journals, we are writing about a variety of subjects throughout the day. Instead of having a set time for writing (which we still do at times), we are finding that our incidental writing is more authentic. It is another step in making sure my curriculum is integrated. We don't just have to do writing at writing time. Writing happens in all kinds of ways throughout the day. And, most importantly, I am finding when we are writing about our creations, we are writing more. Instead of short sentences, we are beginning to write stories. We are not writing to get it out of the way, but really putting in time to make sure we get it just right. I am impressed with our effort and our output.
I sometimes get caught up in the idea that if I am doing this, then surely everyone else must be doing this as well, surely I am not that original. But as I reflect upon my practice and my beliefs about education in the kindergarten classroom, I become more convinced that we have to demonstrate in our practice why we believe activities such as sand play and block play are so important. This is just one of those ways.