Developing writing skills at our nursery
We take the ability to write for granted as adults and often forget what it felt like learning to write. It is such an important skill that our children need to learn for their future success in life. It is important that we take care to make writing and the learning of writing fun for children.
Early writing is the development of a skill in itself. Early writing is also a good predictor of children’s later reading success. Specifically , early writing is part of a set of important foundational literacy skills that serve as necessary precursors to conventional reading , including developing understanding both print (i.e. concept and alphabet knowledge) and sound ( i.e. phonological awareness)
Mark making in the snow
Children start their journey to writing early in life with mark making. Babies make marks or patterns and touch them for example in spilled food in their high chair trays, at nursery when exploring sensorial materials. We provide children with activities to develop their fine motor skills such as play dough, finger rhymes, water play, craft activities such as gluing, threading to name but a few.
The first clear signs that children are making marks comes when children start using chunky crayons and mark make on paper. To start with mark making is a mix of drawing and mark making. Initially they draw dots and lines, and then they start to be able to draw curves, followed by straight lines. Finally they start to be able to join curves and straight lines to form letters.
Around children’s third birthdays they begin to understand the difference between mark making and drawing. Children who have experienced adult’s
At The West Finchley Preschool we recognise the importance of early writing. We encourage our Explorers and Discoverers to mark make using sensory materials. We provide marking making materials for the Discoverers and Creators to use freely. We plan learning experiences that involve developing fine motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination. We encourage the children to make large movements in the air to develop motor skills. In our Learners rooms we area we plan experiences that promote mark making and writing by making writing materials available in all the areas of learning ,indoors and out doors encouraging and supporting early writing skills.
One of the first words children usually learn to write is their first name. Name writing increases children’s conceptual and procedural knowledge. Names are meaningful to children, and pre-schoolers typically are interested in learning to write the letters in their name, especially the first letter. Name writing proficiency provides a foundation of other literacy knowledge and skills; it associates with alphabet knowledge, letter writing, print concepts and later on spelling.
We offer our children the opportunity to write using technology, which will become a key part of their later learning and to pit their names together with preformed letters
When helping children develop writing skills at home it is important to understand that it is not a quick process and requires patience and encouragement. Writing needs to be a fun activity as if children enjoy it they will want to continue writing.
Provide an endless sort of writing materials , such as notebooks, paper, paper cut in strips, different coloured and textured paper and pens, pencils, crayons, chalks and paint etc. To start with allow children to make large marks, letters and as they develop their skill their marks /letters will get smaller.
If children see adults role modelling mark making it will encourage them to mark make too so share your shopping list making with them, write things together that are important to you and your child. Give mark making a high value even if you generally use a computer/tablet rather than scribing on a day to day basis.