Free writing is an important step in the infant classes, the children move from the mark making stage to approximate spelling of words during Junior & Senior Infants.
For my Senior Infants I gave them clipboards for Aistear, the clipboards became part of the planning and review process. In each clipboard there was a Dolch word list and also a topic mat for the current theme. The children were given time to plan at their play areas before the play session, they worked with Juniors and wrote in their clipboards.
At the end of the Aistear Session, the children are encouraged to write words or sentences in their clipboards about what they did in their area. During the year junior infants were given small notebooks that we call play diaries for them to draw or write about what they did in their play area. In this way Junior infants are beginning their free writing journey through play.
In my class I also have a writing area that the children have free access to during Aistear and at other times of the day. On the writing area I have post-its in lots of different colours, markers, fluffy pens, pencils, erasers, twistables, and notebooks and A4 paper. The children can use what they want (within reason of course). During the day if children need a pencil or a specific colour they can go to writing area and help themselves. It encourages the children to be independent. At the end of the day spare pencils and twistables can be returned to the writing area.
Finally, to encourage free writing during class time, I give the children a WOW copy (an idea that I got from a Summer Course). The WOW copy is for writing only and acts as an early finisher. I explain it is for writing only, and the children identify all the words in the room that they can practice in their WOW copy. As the year progresses the Senior infants go from copying words around the room to writing their own news in their WOW copy.
There are lots of ways to encourage free writing in the infants classes, if you have any other ideas feel free to share them in the comments or on my facebook page.