Empowering Children as Writers
‘Education begins the moment we see children as innately wise and capable beings. Only then can we play along in their world.’ Vince Gowmon.
We must remember from the outset, even the youngest child is already a writer in the making. They are writers from the word go. Writers on a journey. They have everything they need within them to become highly skilful and capable writers. We provide the environment.
“Children come into the world exquisitely designed, and strongly motivated, to educate themselves. They don’t need to be forced to learn; in fact, coercion undermines their natural desire to learn.” ~ Peter Gray.
So what do children need?
To write and mark make
They need to write and mark make for a purpose. Early on. Any kind of marks. Marks which are meaningful to them. Marks which convey their ideas, their imagination. Marks which from the outset show them as, and allow them to view themselves as brilliant writers…storytellers…list-makers…communicators. Even before they know how to write letters and understand the connection between these letters and sounds.
They need purpose. What does this actually mean? That they are interested in, fascinated in the topic, the focus, the ‘thing’ they are engaged with. They are leading the way with what they are inspired by. They are motivated to communicate ideas, share their views, their experiences, their observations, solutions, conclusions and questions. And it’s purposeful because their ideas and the things they are interested in and motivated by are valued. The audience is receptive, interested in and enagaged with these ideas.
So they have positive feedback. Everything they do is good….and so they enjoy it…they want to do it more…they appreciate the value of being a writer. They understand its significance and feel ‘qualified’ to communicate in this way. They feel and understand the power of writing and being a writer.
And then they need time. Time to practice, to explore, observe, think, try out, edit, and change their mind. They need to acquire and become adept in the skills which make an author and continue on this journey in increasingly sophisticated ways. What a fantastic basis to ensure children feel empowered!
And how we interact with children on this writing journey is absolutely critical to the success of that journey. We need to follow children’s natural learning pathway.
Before children are even writing simple sentences. What can they already do?....
They can think of ideas, connect ideas, share these with others and edit their ideas. They know how to explore and use their imagination and communicate their ideas, with an ever-increasing vocabulary, to those around them.
“Children have real understanding only of that which they invent themselves.” ~ Jean Piaget
They have everything they need in place to be writers. The hard work is already done. The foundation is laid. They understand the power of storytelling and writing. All they have to do now is write it down.
Children who struggle with writing as they grow older are generally the children who haven’t got this blueprint in their mind, the strong foundation on which to build. And we owe it to them to allow them to build it, providing the time and resources to allow them to do so.
‘Children are not things to be moulded, but are people to be unfolded.’ ~ Jess Lair.
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