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.

Learning opportunities in routines and transitions

Over the last couple of weeks we noticed that routines and transitions in St. Anne’s Room have had an increasingly smooth flow. As educators, we believe that throughout the routines and transitions of the day there are valuable learning opportunities for all children, such as; relationship building, supporting a sense of belonging and identity, language and skill development and independence. These opportunities may arise during transitions from one space to another or when handwashing for snack or organising their bowl, cup and cutlery for lunch time and so on.

All aspects of the program, including routines, are organised in ways to maximise opportunities for each child’s learning. (The National Standard, ACECQA, revised 2018)

One part of the routine that has particularly shown development is the transition the children make from their play, inside or outside, to group times. The children are now familiar with the group they are in, Murraya or Grevillea, and know which end of the room they have group time in. As soon as they hear the bells for group time there are children sitting ready for their peers to join them. This has supported the children that have started recently, they learn from the children who are familiar with the routine. We have also introduced visuals into the environment to support the inclusion of all children in routines and with transitions, ie. a visual timetable using photographs and pictorial symbols that the educators use with the children.

The sense of belonging to a group has developed, Emannoop was concerned when he noticed that his Grevillea group sign on the door had disappeared, he searched high and low until he found it. The children are beginning to use the words Grevillea and Murraya too. Belonging to a group is supporting a sense of identity. When children feel they belong they are more receptive to learning.

Our image of the child is rich in potential, strong, powerful, competent, and, most of all, connected to adults and other children. (Loris Malaguzzi, Young Children 1993)

Group times offer opportunities for children to be connected. Learning is evident throughout the routine but we have noticed that group times have become a time where the children enjoy being together with their peers and experiencing shared learning. Group times are the part of the routine where we routinely focus on Prayer, discussing bucket filling and specks of gold. This week Murraya group have also been learning about Australian animals, their habitats and the sounds they make. We had positive feedback from Casey, Mason’s mum, she told us how amazed she was that Mason was talking about Kookaburras at home. The Grevillea group had a focus on colours, a particular interest of Max’s. We read ‘Where is the green sheep?’, mixed colours, made shades of colours and played games involving colours.

The children demonstrate their independence throughout the routine. They have become particularly capable at organising their own rest mats before lunch and then after resting; cleaning them and putting them away. It is also lovely to see the children helping each other when required. An example of this was when Aria showed her new friend, Anna, every step of the process with the mats. Xavier is often observed helping others lift their mats into the storage cupboard to pack them away.

The children are involved in designing the routines, this has shaped Grevillea Prayer time, for example.  Eva asked if she could set up the space for prayer time with the Bible, the statue of Mary, Joseph and Jesus and other resources, we now do this every day, the children love having the responsibility for certain jobs. This also provides an opportunity to develop their emerging autonomy.

When routines and transitions are consistent and predictable, as they are for the children in St. Anne’s Room, they can contribute to a positive learning environment.

 

Links to The Early Years Learning Framework

‘Children feel safe, secure and supported and use effective routines to help make predicted transitions smoothly’

‘Children develop their emerging autonomy, inter-dependence, resilience and sense of agency’

Outcome 1: Children have a strong sense of identity (Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia, 2009)

 

Links to our 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.

 

Play is literacy (Wohlwend 2015)

The children in St. Anne’s Room continued to engage in shop play this week. With the provision of resources to support role- playing shops we continued to observe the children. We wondered whether their play was about shops or making connections with each other as they used the shop scenario to initiate interactions.  

This week we have noticed many less spontaneous announcements of “Ice cream” around the room. This may be because the shop is providing some opportunities for the interactions that the children are seeking or because the children themselves are discovering new ways of initiating interactions themselves.  

We observed an example of the children initiating group interactions this week on numerous occasions. Some children collected as many chairs as they could and arranged them in different ways. On one occasion the chairs were arranged in a long single line and it became a train, another occasion saw the chairs arranged in lines of two and it became a bus. This play has been led by Jon and Tavae, wonderfully, the play has been very inclusive, whoever wants to have a ride on the vehicle, can.  

In addition to social interactions the shop also offered opportunities for both literacy and numeracy. The clipboards are popular, some children like being in the shop to draw, like Leo, who draws his family. Others use the clipboards as shopping lists or to show customers what is on offer, such as Ojasvi, she makes wavy lines on her paper from left to right then she offers, “Noodles”, pointing to her paper. Ellara had a different purpose for her writing, she hung her papers up on the frame behind the shop, “To tell people not to climb”. She then wrote one to inform everyone that it was lunchtime. As the week progressed the children’s interest became more focused on using the clipboards and writing for different purposes, Eva wrote to Santa, Charlotte recorded her teddy’s temperature and Sarah wrote to her Grandma in Melbourne. 

We saw numeracy with the children using large buttons as dollars. There has been much comparing of who has the most dollars and counting to ensure fairness. Sorting the dollars using the attribute of colour has been prevalent too. We introduced some numbers to the shop, the children were particularly interested in the numbers that meant something to them. Leo held up the number three and said, “I three”. There was also interest in the numbers on the cash register display. Alex pushed the button twice on the cash register and two numbers appeared, he said, “75”. He pushed more numbers until the display was full, he then said, “A thousand”. He knew that more numbers meant a bigger number like one thousand.  

The theorists, Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky, both emphasise the important contribution role play makes in children’s development.  “From a Piagetian viewpoint, creating sociodramatic play opportunities allows children to independently consolidate cognitive skills like concepts of print, and explore the interactions between other individuals and the physical environment” (Piaget 1962: Yaden, Rowe and MacGillivray, 2000).  

A focus for the children in their role play this week has been literacy. From a Vygotskian perspective literacy is viewed as a social, constructive process that begins in early life (Vygotsky 1967). Emergent literacy develops through everyday experiences with others, shop role provides this opportunity.  

We will continue to observe how the children are developing their skills in initiating interactions with others in their play and we will provide further resources for literacy which encompasses communication through language, making marks, recognising symbols and social and emotional development.  

Links to The Early Years Learning Framework 

Practice – Learning through play. When children play with other children they create social groups, test out ideas, challenge each other’s thinking and build new understandings. 

Outcome 5 – Children are effective communicators. Experiences in early childhood settings build on the range of experiences with language, literacy and numeracy that children have within their families and communities.  

Links to our philosophy 

We will engage in projects that build on the learning of educators and foster new understandings of the ways in which children learn and grow in their early years. 

Anyone for Ice cream? The Power of Role Play in Children’s Learning

Some of the children in St. Anne’s room have been observed engaging in a variety of shop role play. We noticed that outside Charlotte transported items to set up her own shop. At the playdough table Charlie, Lexi and Olivia made cupcakes and offered them for sale. Tesi stood at the door of the light room and called out to the main room, “Ice cream, ice cream for sale”. Ojasvi and Mischka climbed up a step so they were higher than the other children around them and called out, “Ice cream”, in unison. This play has not been limited to ice cream, it’s also been sandwiches and with Lorenzo: chocolate cake.

As the educators reflected on this play we decided to set up a role play shop for the children. We placed it outside as that was where the majority of the shop play was observed. However, we wonder whether the play is about shops, buying, selling and re-enacting their own experiences or whether it is a vehicle for something else, like connection.

Role play or pretend play is thought to be imaginative and fun but it also has much learning value. During role play children learn about themselves and the world, they may act out new learning, their fears, interests or dislikes. For example, how often in children’s dramatic hospital play do we see them giving each other vaccinations? Children are acting out an experience that they may not understand or find scary. They do this in a safe environment where they can explore their feelings and make sense of the world.

Shop role play has many opportunities for learning, such as; sorting food into groups with similar attributes, mathematically organising food in spatial arrangements, calculating the cost of food, communicating verbally and through writing, exploring shapes and weights, collaboration and so on.

The Early Years Learning Framework informs our curriculum. It states “Children develop a sense of belonging to groups and communities and an understanding of the reciprocal rights and responsibilities necessary for active community participation”. We wonder if this is what are children are trying to achieve by building on their own social experiences, negotiating roles and inviting reciprocal play?

These observations also link with our philosophy, “We will engage in projects, both internally and externally, that build on the learning of educators and foster new understandings of the ways in which children learn and grow in their early years.”

Here are some photos of our first observations of the children engaged in our role play shop. We will reflect on these and keep you informed as we attempt to interpret the learning. We would love to hear your thoughts.

24/10/2019

To start off a very hot day, we went outside and engaged in some water play, to stay nice and cool.

As it started to heat up, we made our way into Home 2, where we all engaged in a range of inquiries. Some of us engaged in socio-dramatic play, such as pretend cooking, dress-ups and role play. Kunal noticed a milipede and was observing how they moved. Some of us enjoyed building and construction using the Lego and blocks and others enjoyed creating a range of artwork using paint, the whiteboards and pencils.

Tesi and Jon started creating patterns using the lose parts.

Tesi: “white, black, white, black, white oh, black comes next”.

Jon: “Black, white, white, black, white, black”.

Tesi: “Look Jon, we need a white”.

 

Specks of Gold

My speck of gold was playing with the doctor set- Haniya

My speck of gold was playing with Tavae- Tarun

My speck of gold was doing prayer- Arabella

My speck of gold was playing with the books – Olivia

My speck of gold was making a truck- Liam

My speck of gold was playing with Arielle- Tesi

 

17/10/2019

To start off our wonderful morning, we went outside to engage in a range of provocations based around the children’s interests. Many children were engaged in painting, whilst other children enjoyed engaging in play that strengthened their gross motor skills and encouraged creativity and curiosity.

After playing outside for quite some time, we progressively made our way into Home 2, where we had the opportunity to explore other provocations that encouraged socio-dramatic play, problem solving, curiosity, creativity, perseverance, love of learning and zest. Take a look at our learning.

Specks of Gold

My speck of gold is playing with Aisha- Olivia

My specks of gold was playing with Ariel and my friends to hunt millipedes- Tesi

Playing with Tesi- Ariel

My speck of gold was playing with Olivia- Omelia

My speck of gold was playing with Omelia – Kunal

08.10.2019

Tavae follows the dots mapping the letters in his name. He is very proud when he’s finished and asks to keep doing more as he can sense he is mastering the shape of the letters in his name

Eman follows the letters from his name. It takes a lot of concentration but he continues…

Charlie wrote her own name and showed it to Palwinder, as she did so, she realized she had left out a letter, so she quickly fixed it and proudly showed it off!

Today in home 2, children engaged in a variety of Experiences based on writing provocations based in their interest and self-identity. Some of the children focused on writing their names and identifying the letters in their names.

Outside we enjoyed playing group game ‘Wheels on Bus’ and by taking turns and sharing we are building our ‘belonging’ with group.

All the children asked to play chicken dance during group time and enjoyed dancing on the music.

Janine played wheels on the Bus’ song on her guitar during the morning group time and children were using the same context outside singing and playing together.

Links to EYLF:

Outcome 1:
Children have a strong sense of identity.

  • Children develop knowledgeable and confident self identities
  • Children learn to interact in relation to others with care, empathy and respect

Our Day @ Alive 02.10.19

Today was a very hot day which meant our outdoor time was limited. The children engaged  in water play and water paint activities outside in the morning, then moved into Home 2 a little earlier to avoid the peak UV  and participate in some indoor activities.

In Home 2, they were engaged in a variety of provocations based on their interests. Children were busy doing activities such as book reading, light table, dinosaurs, puzzles, home corner and block play.

We also celebrated Xavier’s 4th Birthday today with some dancing and a birthday cake for afternoon tea.

Our Prayer

Xavier: Thank you god for playing with Omelia.
Kunal: Thank you God for playing with Liam and Jasmeh.
Arabella: Thank you God for playing outside with the bars.
Krisha: Playing with Liam.
Omelia: Thank you god for playing with Olivia.

Link To EYLF      

Outcome 1:Children have a strong sense of identity
1.1 Children feel safe, secure, and supported.

1.4 Children learn to interact in relation to others with care, empathy and respect.

Our day Full of fun at Alive today

We love encouraging kids to play, be it indoor or outdoor play.  Today the ELC children engaged in some water play activities. We filled up the baby baths with warm soapy water where the children had the opportunity to engage in scooping, pouring, soaking and squeezing, using measuring cups, pots and sponges. Children benefit from the relaxing and repetitive nature of scooping, pouring and running their hands through the water. They develop crucial social skills when they are working with just one other child or a whole group. It is a great way for children to learn to share and take turns as they share the physical space and the play items in the water.

Water play offers many opportunities for children to problem solve, question, explore and experiment. They are investigating water science, finding out what floats and sinks, or how water moves in different shapes, when we pour it in different container. Children learn and use the language of mathematical terms like “more than” or “less than, full or half  full half empty etc.

In the afternoon we experimented with a sink or float activity. The children placed various item into the water after discussing whether it would sink or float.

We first talked about what it meant to sink and float. Tesi said “It go to the bottom” for sink. We all agreed that sink meant it would go under the water and if it floated it would stay on top of the water.

WILL IT SINK OR FLOAT?

Each child picked an item from the basket then told the group whether it would sink of float and then dropped the item into the water. I then asked them what happened.

Ellara (Bracelet): Float! It sinked in!

Omelia (Wooden Spoon): Into the water. It floats!

Joel (3D Magnet): It will float! Yes it did. Oh, it sinked.

Tesi (Wooden Block): Um, I don’t know, maybe under. It floats!

Tavae (log): Sink. Yes it sink. Brianna: Are you sure? Joel: It float.

Tarun (Rock): Under

Xavier (Small truck): Float.  It float!

Ellara (Pine cone): Float. Yes, it did!

 

____________________________________________________________________

Early this morning some of the children were talking about their firework painting they had done yesterday. Liam and Deanna were able to explain what they had done, using card board strips and the paints, and direct how to set that up again for those children who were not here yesterday.

There are some more photos of our day at centre.

Specks of Gold 

Tesi: My speck of gold is float and sink

Krisha: Play with Liam

Ellara: Playing with Deanna

Deanna: Playing with Ellara

Omelia: My specks of gold is playing with Tesi

Xavier: My speck of gold is playing with Omelia

Liam: Making a camera

Tarun: Spraying Tavae

Link to EYLF

Outcome 2. children are connected with and contribute to their world
2.3-Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment
Outcome 3: Children have a strong sense of wellbeing
3.1. Children become strong in their social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing
Outcome 4: Children are involved and confident learners
4.1. Children develop dispositions for learning such as cooperation, creativity, persistence and reflexivity

4.2. Children develop a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, inquiry, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating

 

Firework Painting Activity 30/09/2019

The Fireworks Painting was inspired by reading the story The Night Before New Year’s written by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Amy Wummer.

Today we Created Fireworks with Paint!

Using some of the left over cardboard rolls from gift wrapping and paper towel we created different length ‘firework’ fans for printing with paint. The print pattern created by the cardboard roll fans mimics that of fireworks brilliantly and children can create as many different size and coloured fireworks as they like.

Learning Opportunities

Imagination and Creativity
Using different materials to paint such as cardboard rolls etc.
They learn about different shapes, patterns & geometry firework make and paint those on paper.
Cause and Effect
They learned about what will happen when we light fireworks, they have mixed different colours to make new one.
Language development – New vocabulary such as fireworks, New Year’s Day, etc., as some children only know the firework meaning in their home language only.

There are some observations we made, after the book reading, of the children’s knowledge about fireworks.

The night before New year’s – Book

What were they dreaming about?
Liam: The fireworks

When do we see fireworks?
Omelia: At night.

Where do you go to see fireworks?
Joel: I just don’t know where the firework
Liam: when my sister went to see some fireworks, but I didn’t get to go but we drove with my cousins and we saw fireworks

WATCHING A VIDEO OF FIREWORKS
Omelia: They use the fireworks to make lights. For a party.
Xavier: That’s so loud.
Liam: I can see the clouds. I saw a letter.
What shapes do they make?
Joel: They make circle, like bang circle!

Link to EYLF:

EYLF Outcomes:
Learning Outcome 4, Learning Outcome 5
Sub Outcomes:
4.3 Children transfer and adapt what they have learned from one context to another.
5.4 Children begin to understand how symbols and pattern systems work.