Early Childhood Art

Making our Mark

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 twelveRead 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