By the time the children enter the preschool room at Wellingborough Day Nursery, most of them will already be aware of the link between speech and writing. Many will be able to identify letters in their own names and “help” adults to read from books. As they approach school-age, some may even be able to hold a pencil correctly and write recognisable letters.
This process starts when babies are very young. In nursery we will use rhyme and song to help children extend their vocabulary. We share story books and point out familiar words.
As they grow, children will show an interest in mark making – using paints, writing in sand and gloop, and even creating patterns in mud. Before long and with a little encouragement, children are able to make the connection between their “writing” and the sounds that we make.
One of the ways in which we encourage children along this journey is to use a system called “Write Dance.” Using music and song, the children join in with art and movement activities designed to promote writing skills. It captures children’s natural love of music and dance to develop the skills needed for writing and is proving very successful in schools around the country. Our little ones certainly love the sessions and we can see their writing development coming on in leaps and bounds!
We also encourage the development of literacy skills in our preschoolers by allowing them the freedom to use alternative tools with which to “write” and one of their favourites is our programmable robots, known as Beebots. You can see that there’s the ability for each Beebot to hold a pen, and children love programming it so that it “writes.”
With our child-friendly tablet, the Leapad, there are lots of opportunities for our little ones to make their mark on the screen and this is something that causes much delight.
It is really important that we continue to prioritise literacy activities in nursery, and as our preschoolers grow it will give them a strong foundation for the next stage of their learning in primary school.