Early Literacy (speech, language, reading, writing and story telling) starts with increasing your child's fine motor control and building strong hand muscles.
Young children learn early literacy skills much the same way they acquire language skills. All developmental areas work together in a meaningful, relationship-oriented way within a sensory rich environment.
Fine motor control needed for writing, involves developing hands and fingers that can work effectively together to complete a task involving small movements. At Magic Garden we ensure there are plenty of opportunities for children to use their pincer grip and squeeze their hands to build strong hand muscles. Using the following mediums:
Cutting with scissors
Picking up tiny objects
Nuts and bolts
Eye droppers for water and ink
Tipping and pouring
Tiny objects for imaginary play props
Communicating via drawing and storytelling gives children the opportunity to create and share meaning using alternative ways of communication - the non-verbal (i.e graphic depiction stemming from imagery and visual memory) in collaboration with the verbal (i.e creating a story that accompanies their artwork).
Children demonstrate the understanding of concepts, experiences, and ideas through symbolic representation. Such crossover of methods (verbal & non-verbal communication) increases children's capacity to use many forms of representational thinking.
Children demonstrate the understanding of concepts, experiences, and ideas through symbolic representation in their play, construction and art. Most importantly it allows one symbolic domain to enrich and inform the other.
When children can use more than one symbolic domain at once, they are liberated to mentally manipulate and organise images, ideas, and feeling, and to use a rich amalgam of both fantasy and reality to portray life experiences. Such portrayals are often both literal and metaphoric.
A metaphor is a figure of speech that describes an object or action in a way that isn't literally true, but helps explain an idea or make a comparison. They are more often abstract exploitations and thinking of a physical image (ie if we say it is raining cats and dogs, we are speaking metaphorically, not literally, meaning it is raining hard). Literal meanings tend to be associated with events or objects in the physical world, Children consider multiple interpretations, generate new meanings, and expand existing meanings while drawing and describing their drawings. Susan Wright, 2003, pg 24. Children, Meaning-Making and the Arts
Modelling is an effective strategy for assisting children to draw. This involves drawing with your child, talking about what we are seeing and thinking, using the vocabulary of art (e.g `Now, this leaf goes out to the side, so I need a long line going across the page here. The line for the stem joins the leaf here. I can use short sharp little lines to show the leaf is furry,') Through such processes we show children our concentration, our attempts, our mistakes and our willingness to try again. Susan Wright, 2003, pg 50. Children, Meaning-Making and the Arts
If you'd like to see an example of early literacy in action at Magic Garden see Amber's Story in Blogs.