In my last post, we explored the development of the physical skills needed to support early writing. These skills contribute to children’s ability to begin to make marks with confidence and control. In this post, we’re going to explore ‘mark making’, what it means and how it contributes to your child’s developing skills.
We use the term ‘mark making’ because young children are still exploring making marks; they are not necessarily writing letters, writing numbers or drawing, they are simply exploring all of the shapes and skills they will need later. It is really important to honour and celebrate your child’s mark making at whatever stage they are at. Even if it doesn’t look like much to us, that funny little collection of scribbles in the middle of a page is their attempt at communicating something; ask them “can you tell me about it?” Comment on the colours and shapes you can see and behave like it’s the most marvellous thing you’ve ever seen! The more they feel that they are getting their message across, the more they will enjoy exploring and developing their skills.
At nursery, we try to provide a variety of opportunities to make marks, using lots of different media to give children a chance to find their favourite ways to communicate. Some children love creating massive pictures with chalk on the floor outside, while others write shopping lists on a little notebook with a felt tip pen and others still, make tracks in the sand pit with their fingers. All of it will contribute to their ability and desire to write and draw later on.