About mark making
Find out the importance of children’s experiences of mark making and how they use these marks symbolically to carry meaning.
Scribbles are products of a systematic investigation, rather than haphazard actions.
John Matthews (1999), The Art of Childhood and Adolescence: The Construction of Meaning. London: Falmer (p. 19)
Children’s experiences of mark making
Children learn from everything they do, but their development depends, in part, on the quality and range of experiences they have received both in the environment of their setting and at home. Some children have had opportunities to experiment with mark making from their earliest years, while others have had limited experiences for a variety of reasons.
Children make marks for many different reasons and development along this journey is complex, depending as much on confidence, motivation and dispositions as on their physical skills or ability. The variation that can be seen in outcomes for Communication, Language and Literacy and Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage is likely to be more about the wide differences in children’s experience and the impact on their motivation, than about their ability.
A representation of thoughts and feelings
Within the context of an active play-based learning environment, children will have many different ways of representing their thoughts and feelings in the early years. Some will choose music, dance or song, others will prefer to tell stories through role-play, drama or using small world resources, but most will at some point be naturally drawn to represent their ideas graphically. When children realise that marks can be used symbolically to carry meaning, in much the same way as the spoken word, they begin to use marks as tools to make their thinking visible. These marks will support the developing concepts of mathematics and language in relation to their play.