Mark Making

What is mark making? The early marks that children make on paper and other surfaces consist of lines and shapes and are often referred to as scribbles, however, these marks are the first steps towards writing. Making marks also supports physical development, imagination and creativity. Sometimes marks are made just for the physical pleasure, such as in Anthony’s case. He used a whiteboard and markers, enjoying the gliding motion of the markers on the whiteboard.  As children learn that their marks, as symbols, can represent their thinking it is wonderful for educators and families to see children’s thinking become visible.

Making marks is a physical skill. Children need to be able to control the large muscles in the body before they can control a mark making too,l such as a pencil. Core strength is required to make marks. Babies “coordinate their arm muscles from the shoulder, then the elbows and then the wrists. Skilful manipulation of the fingers or fine motor skills, comes last” (Meyerhoff, 2013).

In St. Anne’s Room many of the children are displaying interest in mark making. This week we provided many opportunities for this, inside and outside, with a variety of resources. Clipboards were especially popular. We observed children making marks about their current favourite interests. An example of this is Lorenzo’s volcano drawings. Currently he talks about volcanoes and how he is going to make one at home.


Some of the children are demonstrating writing in their marks. Often their first writing involves people who are significant to them. Frankie made a book about Santa’s toy sack and wrote on it. We asked her to read it to us, at first she said, “I don’t know, I can’t read”, she then told us it said, “For mummy”. Leo made marks as he painted at the easel outside. He used recognisable letters and some words. A favourite saying of Leo’s is “Where mummy?” He attempted to write this using his prior knowledge of letters and sounds.


Children also make marks about experiences they have had, whether they are trying to make sense of them or wanting to communicate the experiences to others. Edward drew a picture of an experience he told us he had, he also wrote his name. “I love Coca Cola, I was tiptoeing out of the bed and had a drink of Coca Cola and ran back to my bed before Dad wakes up”.


Ava drew a picture of one of her dreams. It was about Monster’s Inc. She talked about Sully the monster and drew her representation of Mike, another monster.


Marks have been made by children this week to explain their thinking about concepts. Alex was exploring the concept of whole and half with a small group of children and Ojasvi drew a wonderful picture of her explanation of whole. She drew the whole world.

Children are born with a desire to communicate. As children develop they make meaning through mark making. We aim to create an environment where the children feel secure and know that their creativity is valued which we hope will lead to prolific mark making.

Links to The Early Years Learning Framework

Outcome 1. Children feel safe, secure and supported

Outcome 5. Children express ideas and make meaning using a range of media

Links to philosophy

We will provide an emergent and responsive curriculum for all children based from the philosophy of the service, provocations of educators and children’s strengths and interests as well as the interests of the group.

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