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I would like to know where other settings encourage their children to mark make!

 

We use both our indoor and outdoor environment, but have recenly come up against our committee who do not agree with some of the activites we are providing...

So i am very curious to know how and where other setting mark make, and if anyone else has ever been challenged?

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Hi

We used to use chalk outside - they were free to chalk where they wanted. Our Head objected, Nursery is next to the front entrance so must admit it did look a bit messy! We just provide a board that they can chalk on instead. What sort of objections are you talking about?

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Same query really what do they object to?

 

Just a thought - do you have a voluntary parent run committee.

Is it a lack of child development knowledge on their part and do you need to share your knowledge with them on how young children make marks, is it that time of year for parents to get jumpy about ready for school.

 

I only ask becasue I know my chair would love them strapped to chairs with workbooks - in the nicest way we had a open and frank discussion about childrens learning...

 

Let us know more info

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Hi all, well the objections are similar to those described with the chalking!

 

We were using the outside of our building (wooden) the children were enjoying using 'real' paintbrushes to paint the building and some display (animals). They also chalk outside on the floor and we do a lot of feet painting so quite often the floor is covered in paint!

 

It has been a long process for staff to feel comfortable with these activities, all new to them having been restricted by the previous leader. I have been very proud with their developing knowledge and understanding of the importance of mark making, and embracing it, providing a range of mark making activities to encourage both boys and girls, and we have seen great progress amongst the children.

 

Yes we are run by a parent committee, and I have tried to explain why we do things like that. I have had no complaints from parents, or visiting parents.

 

The committee (some members) feel that it looks 'messy' and will influence children to graffiti later on in life! I got permission from those we rent the building from (said they did not have a problem with it)

They also feel it would make children think it would be ok to mark make anywhere within the home, and if challenged would respond with 'im allowed to do it at preschool'. Also that parents/visitors may get the impression we 'let our children run wild!'

 

To be honest I feel awful that it is being portrayed in this way, and was quite upset in by the way in which I was spoken to. (Felt I was being told off, in front of other committee members) very embarrassing!

 

I have agreed to find a resolve and clean down what is there, have boards being made to put up- however it will still look 'messy' as that is what children do and how they experiment. There were even suggestions to take the boards down when we had visitors etc.

 

Feeling very frustrated, do not want to fall out with committee!! But at the same time, can see the progress the children are making is proud of the staff for extending and supporting children’s interests, stages of development and skills. Feel rather deflated and disappointed.

 

I just wanted to see if others do anything similar, or have had the same problems.

 

 

:o

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we provide mark marking opportunities in every space possible as well as our mark marking area. have you read the document mark making matters....it may be useful to show them how important making marks can be. sorry i can't help more...my setting isn't commitee run or linked to a school so we don't really have anybody who can object. Ang x

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i have had the mark making document for over 2 months now, it has been passed around all of the staff. They have obviously taken the time to read it because now when they talk to me about observations they have made, or actvitiy ideas they refer to what they read and understood from the book.

 

two members of staff have also been on a mark making worshop and came back with lots of ideas and implemented them straight away! brill!

 

They also share honestly that they now understand how important mark making is to develop writing skills, and that before they realised those processes had to take place to enable children to actually learn to write.

 

Obviuosly the committee have not accessed this reading material, and were more concerned about the appearence of the building, and the impression it was giving to people. (regardless of the fact no one has actually made any negative comments).

 

like i have already said, even if we allow the children to do the activites on boards, it will still look 'messy' and i will not be disposing of them or washing away what they have done- what about the children having a sense of achievement and taking pride in their work, and then i come along and wipe it away and hide it away when parents or visitors are around.

I am not prepared to do that- i want to celebrate the childrens achievements and learning.

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We rent our hall, but I own the pre-school, so I only answer to the owners of the hall. Our children use pavement chalks, but in quite a small area, maybe 8 large paving stones, we provide buckets of water and scrubbing brushes and the children love to clean off their marks at the end of the session - also the scrubbing action, very good for their arm muscles etc.

 

The use paint brushes and water outside, they use squeezy bottles of water outside, we put up the painting easel and they paint outside. We used the sainsburys voucher banner and used permanent ink felt tips and put that banner up on the railings outside welcoming new children visiting and the visiting teachers this year. We take paper and crayons outside for them to make surface rubbings etc. We have put lining paper up on the wooden fence and they have hurled sponges and paint soaked tea bags at it, we put plastic sheeting down so the grass didn't get messed up.

 

I think it's a shame your committee are so narrow minded - you must continually educate them - why not get your EYAT to come in and give a presentation with you on the importance of mark making one evening for committee and parents?

 

Keep the faith hfn - you know you are right in what you are trying to do - persuade, persuade, persuade!!

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Asking the EYAT to come and give some support for the committee is a good idea if you have a good relationship with him/her. We did something similar over reading a few years ago. We had pressure from a parent on the committee about getting her little one to read (stop me if I've said this before by the way!). He wasn't ready to sit and listen, never mind read a book, but she was worried that he would be behind others who went to the school nursery. Our EYAT came in a did a short speech on the importance of our early reading work (basically Letters and Sounds phase 1) and how it provided a better basis for children than pushing them too early. It really calmed the parent in question down and got the message across in a way we hadn't been able to. Other than that could you forge some links with other settings who are comfortable with their mark making and ask if committee members can visit there to see if they are put off by the "mess"?

Edited by Guest
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I think the EYAT idea is fab - in my area I am one of the settings that others visit to see the EYFS in action.

 

Does your area have any suitable settings - I regularly have committees come round with staff to try and address issues. Shame you are not closer - but someone near you must be able to help. I have met some fiesty committees, but its' selling the positives.

 

If they are the committee what is important the childrens writing development - or visitors impressions. My visitors love the children mark making. Can you explain the needs to strengthen the shoulder muscles and what other ideas they have?

Hunt through some books and show them examples of big marks,you are going to have to be firm - but you need to get the committee to believe in your curriculum knowledge and how you are helping their children.

 

 

We have chalk and buckets of water available so they can use the two toegther, some will use water - others chalk. It works out.

 

good luck

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my quick answer would be anywhere and everywhere possible we currently have attempts at numbers on the outside wall, names on the floor, the childrens drawn wavy lines for the cars to follow ooh and 4 children plus one member of staff who were drawn around on the outside wall children adding features we have a 'water wall' which has holes drilled into wood for the children to hook gutter from one child has used different coloured chalk to draw circles around all the holes

 

but our outside area is at the back of the nursery and only seen by us

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Oh dear. Isnt it a shame when the committee cant stick to their roles? They're job is to employ you not run you. They have no knowledge (usually) of child development and so shouldnt comment on things like that. (I'm chair so I'm allowed to say those things!)

I'd be tempted to carry on as you are and keep providing written examples of why allowing this type of activity is important. I've been in lots of settings where mess is seen as something to be avoided at all costs so I know how frustrated you must be feeling.

Keep chipping away at them. The committee members who dont see this as a problem might be a good place to start, thank them for their support, invite them to give ideas on what else the children could do to support mark making, anything to make them feel valued. Highlight in your learning journeys how the children are developing linked to having the opportunity to make big marks.

Find some examples of other settings with 'mess' on the walls and floor as well. Look on teachernet, DCSF, Surestart for anything that backs up what you're doing.

Good luck :o

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Oh dear. Isnt it a shame when the committee cant stick to their roles? They're job is to employ you not run you. They have no knowledge (usually) of child development and so shouldnt comment on things like that. (I'm chair so I'm allowed to say those things!)

 

Hear! Hear! Rea.

 

Either pack the lot of them off to some child development training/mark making workshops OR bide your time....bite your tongue.....cross your fingers and wait for their time on the committee to be up. Committees come and go and its just so not fair for one lot to want to stunt the growth of children's development and then to swan off when their time is up. Maybe they need to look at that mark making document you spoke about in an earlier post. Perhaps if they understood a bit better they wouldn't be so frustratingly stubborn.

 

That said, my committee (at the moment) are fantastic.......and I'm being very positive for the next lot. All of the committee member's children are leaving so we will probably loose them too!!

 

Good luck in your battle! :o

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Thank you Rea I was trying to be diplomatic about committees.

 

But I totally agree there job is not to control the curriculum - that is why they employeed trained and qualified staff.

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Maybe you could gather some info to show those dissaproving souls exactly why mark making is so important?

 

I don't think they can rightfully argue with its importance, and therefore using creative ideas to get the children do do some mark making.

 

I think sometimes that people need to get a life! Worry about stuff that is worrying not issues where the staff are doing a darned good job for the children in their care!!

 

Oh dear...... and away I go for today...................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Another quick thought - in our area the LA offers some training which is free especially on EYFS matters. It doesn't really require a great deal of prior knowledge and I have recently sent a committee member on some of it. The LA were supportive of this as they realise that if the committee were trained they would be more supportive of the qualified staff. Would tht be something that you could do?

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Thank you for all of your supportive replies, i am very glad to know that other settings do similar activities to us.

 

I have taken on board the suggestions about the committee accessing some training or workshops on mark making. i recently did a similar thing for my staff on the role of key person.

 

I think i will speak to my AT and see if she would come in and talk to them with me, i may even sugest having an evening where we let them experince what we do to implement the entire EYFS so they can get an idea of what we actually do!

 

I am still feeling fustrated, and feel the issue had not been fully resolved, but hey ho. When you are managed by a parent commitee it does put you under pressure to not want to fall out with anyone!

 

What we do is simply what is in the best interest for the children and is considerate of how we are continually trying to improve and move forward the setting.

 

Many Thanks for everyones support

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What a real shame Hannah. xD Try not to get too worn down by negative comments. It sounds as if you and your staff are doing a super job and most of the parents appreciate that. More importantly though you are giving the children a wonderful early years experience which will stand them in good stead throughout their schooling. Practice smiling in the mirror, regardless of what you may be thinking inside and just get on with doing what you do best. xx :o

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Agree with everyones comments, especially the ones about YOU doing a good job and keeping the children at the centre of your practice. xD

 

There are a few VERY good articles in the members articles section that you may find useful to print off, have a copy sent to every committee member and ask the secretary to put 'mark making' on the next committee meeting agenda.

 

you can find the articles HERE including some fantastic photo's showing the 'messyness of learning'. :o:(

 

Peggy

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not sure if anyone has already mentioned it but we tie a large dry wipe board to our fence.thats an easy one, last week they went to town with paint.......painted the fence, the shed, the house, all looks a right mess.......ah well it'll come off when it rains

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