Earlier in the year I alluded to a couple of educator research projects that are taking place at Flinders this year. One of these is called Making our Mark, an investigation into children’s mark making and 2D art. Making our Mark is running in all houses across Flinders and is managed by the programming educators.
But what exactly are we looking at…
As discussed in previous posts (the Making Meaning, Making Marks series), Flinders values children’s mark making and considers it both a language and a literacy skill. Mark making occurs for children from a very young age and continues throughout their time at Flinders. It is this pervasive nature of mark making that has prompted us to explore it in more detail.
We educators have been wondering, how can we better understand children’s mark making? How can we better support learning in this area? How can we learn to read children’s messages, to become more fluent in their language?
As a means to begin answering these questions we developed the Making our Mark project. Each programming educator has chosen at least two focus children, one boy and one girl, who attend Flinders for at least three days each week. The educators are collecting a sample of each child’s mark making each week as a part of our ordinary documentation practices, and analysing this over time to track changes, recognise patters and better understand each child’s mark making language. We will collect and analyse the data over a full twelve month period, giving us approximately 50 pieces of art from each child.
We predict this focused collection and analysis will tell us many new things about the child who’s mark making we are looking at and about children’s mark making generally. The programming educators will meet regularly to talk about their work, their ideas and their thinking, enabling a shared language to develop across Flinders. We hope to learn how to better enable and support children’s mark making, thus become more skilled educators. We think everyone will benefit from this research.
Initially when we began planning this project, the programming educators discussed what we would like to do with our story once we were finished. One of the things we hoped to do was to present at a conference, to share our journey with other educators. It just so happened that, as we began planning, the Early Childhood Australia Biennial Conference put out a call for papers, and we thought we’d throw our hats in the ring. We knew it was early days, but we wove that into our abstract, hoping to share our journey so far.
Much to our surprise, we were invited to share our story so far at the Conference in September in Melbourne. This was a huge shock and a huge honour; to be able to contribute to contemporary thinking in early childhood education is truly amazing and very special. We are feeling a little overwhelmed but extremely positive, and can’t wait to share our journey with you and with the world!
If you are interested in finding out more about the Making our Mark project, please see the Programming Educator in your building or email Flinders.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Early Childhood Australia Conference, go to http://www.ecaconference.com.au/
Stated tuned to Our Million Opportunities, we will be sharing our Making our Mark story with you!