Lockdown Day 84 – The beginning of writing
Today’s post is aimed at showing you as parents, a fun way to engage with your children doing something as simple as talking about the pictures they draw. We have been looking at how we as Montessori teachers look to fulfil the requirements of our national curriculum in ways that are compatible with our own methodology and materials. Montessori speaks about children learning to write before they read, meaning that they first develop the ability to hold a writing implement and use that implement to show meaning. Drawing is a way in which children naturally express themselves and convey messages. In essence, this is the beginning of their writing.
Our national curriculum lists (among others) the following outcomes under the learning area of writing:
- Draws or paints pictures to convey a message.
- Talks to own writing e.g. ‘talks’ to what pictures ‘say’.
- Makes own books (and contributes to the class collection).
Although the act of producing the picture /drawing/ painting is essentially a creative activity, the opportunity to develop the outcomes listed above are embedded in your child’s language development.
Conversations about the pictures focusing on the CHILD’S interpretation and expression of ideas is important. As the parents, your role is to facilitate this by asking leading questions that are open-ended in nature. Instead of “what have you drawn?” (obviously, it’s a space-rocket with an astronaut inside it!), ask the child, “tell me about your picture”. Prompt the child to use her/his imagination by extending her/his initial train of thought when s/he began their picture.
Remember that children do not always start out with a story in their minds. This develops as they go. It’s a bit like when they play pretend games – the story unfolds as they play. Open-ended questions could include, “why do you think the astronaut decided to go into space?”, “what do you think the astronaut is going to see in space?”, “I wonder how long the astronaut is going to stay in space”. With the older child, this could lead to a conversation of the recent space launch and the work that astronauts do on the International Space Station.
Participating in such a conversation can promote the extension of the child’s vocabulary and general knowledge, develop imagination and provide a springboard for follow-on pictures. If the child is amenable, keep the pictures as the story unfolds. The series of pictures could ultimately grow into a book.
On another occasion, you may mention to the child that you are thinking about her/his wonderful story about the astronaut that went to space, and are wondering if the child would like to draw another picture about what the astronaut had seen on her/his journey. This stimulates memory-recall and abstract thinking.
We hope that you will enjoy spending time with your children and their wonderful creations and use the opportunity to spend this time bonding through the power of shared thought and conversation.
Find all of our lockdown tips here – https://www.montessorisa.co.za/blog/