This is the final in our series of posts regarding children’s mark making, although certainly not the last time mark making will be discussed! It is important at this stage to look at what the Early Years Learning Framework says about making making, especially in regards to literacy development.
The EYLF Outcome 5 (Children are effective communicators) deals specifically with communication. Whilst literacy is implicit throughout the EYLF Outcomes, principles and practices, Outcome 5 is really a celebration of literacy in all it’s many forms in early childhood. When most people think of literacy they tend to think of reading and writing, however this definition is too limiting for early childhood, where there are so many ways to express ideas and make meaning. The field of early childhood education and associated research areas are currently seeking a re-definition of literacy in early childhood in order to more truly reflect the nature of children’s communication techniques. This is not to say that reading and writing are no longer relevant, they are and always will be, but more a response to the rote, teaching to the test techniques that have developed over the recent decades.
In early childhood, literacy is more than copying letters. It is making meaning through making marks, it is dramatic play, it is telling stories, it is reading books. Literacy in early childhood is the exploration and increased use of language, be it written, spoken, drawn or enacted. The most obvious of these new examples of literacy in early childhood is mark making; the process of making a mark that means something to someone. Mark making is a means of communication, of sending a message, of constructing recognisable symbols. Any language-rich or meaning making experience is a literacy experience.
The EYLF states;
In the early years literacy includes a range of modes of communication including music, movement, dance, story telling, visual arts, media and drama, as well as talking, reading and writing.
And so, if we really think about it, almost every experience children have the opportunity to explore at Flinders is a literacy experience…