Month: October 2013

Making Meaning, Making Marks – Progression

Last week I posted about children’s mark making, and where they tend to start. First children experience the joy of making their mark; the recognition that they have the power to change things in their world. Once they have discovered this, children begin to take control of the act of mark making in a different way, beginning to explore what the process and the look of the mark in different ways. Some educators and experts refer to the early stages of mark making as ‘scribbling’ – where the child is not trying to draw anything in particular, and neither do the marks look like anything in particular. What is more interesting at this stage is figuring out how to control the marker, and how to coordinate all those muscles at the same time, whilst simultaneously keeping the paper on the table and occasionally changing colours. This a complex dance children are choreographing! In this stage of mark making, lines and shapes tend to join together, with no distinct stops and starts. Mark making tends to start with circles, or circular shapes, and then move into lines, both vertical and horizontal, although it is important to remember that each child’s journey through mark making is unique and may not fit within the typical pattern (this is no cause for alarm!). Children may draw layers of zig zags or round shapes, or one single large motion across the whole paper. The mark may only occupy one corner of the paper, or itRead more

Making Meaning, Making Marks

One of the areas and experiences that is becoming increasingly more pronounced across Flinders is the art space and mark making. The art space and mark making are hugely important aspects of early childhood learning, linking to many learning areas and building links between many experiences. But just what is mark making in the context of early childhood? Broadly, at Flinders we define mark making as any mark made on a 2D surface with a ‘flat’ media. This includes drawing with media such as pencils, markers, pens, pastels and crayons; painting with fingers, brushes, or sponges; or making marks in the earth (sand, soil, concrete etc) with fingers, sticks or chalk; or writing using any of the above mentioned media. It does not include collage (sticking different things onto something) or 3D construction (these explorations are still significant learning opportunities, but they are defined differently). Mark making occurs in a range of ways, and experiences can be introduced as soon as children are able to grasp a pencil or crayon. Of course, mark making processes and products are very different depending on the provocation or invitation provided, the engagement level of the child/ren involved, the child’s familiarity with the media or experience, and their age. Some theorists and practitioners talk about mark making progression as purely based on the age of the child, but at Flinders we see that the child’s previous¬†experience with mark making is just as important as their age; we recognise that children tend to go throughRead more

Why Flinders?

Over the past couple of years there have been some significant changes to the field of early childhood education. These changes, including the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and the National Quality Framework (NQF), have lead to a significant decrease in the perceived gap between kindergartens and childcare centres. Previously, childcare has been seen as a service exclusively devoted to caring for children, and that when children are old enough they head off to kindy to begin their education. The reality is, high quality childcare has long been an environment that caters to the care AND education of children, with the awareness that for very young children there is often no difference. With the Labor government’s changes, the public perception of childcare began to change as people became more aware of the way children learn and the learning that takes place in childcare centres. This changing perception, however, is not pervasive; some people still believe that children need to go to kindy to learn. This is despite both facilities following the same curriculum framework and being assessed under the same standards. So when families choose to stay at Flinders and not access a kindy, they are sometimes receiving flack from those who don’t know. These families sometimes choose to share other’s responses with us. This bothered us, so we thought we’d plead our (and their) case. There are many reason to choose Flinders over a kindy. ¬†Firstly, there are the national laws which outline the use of the same curriculumRead more