16 Jul 2013
Her artwork has blossomed from those magical little tadpole shapes with stick arms protruding where ears should be. People have fingers now and lots of them. Lopsided grins and buttons, eyebrows and eyelashes. List making, menu writing and letters to Nana are her everyday work now as she launches herself onto the steep trajectory that is learning the written word. Lines and swirls are morphing into letters. She is beginning to crack the code.
Her conversation is ever interrupted with a cocked head and puzzled gaze, "What letter does that start with Mumma?" Far from the world you'd imagine a teacher's child to live in, no phonics books, flashcards or worksheets have ever entered her domain. Her insatiable yearning to discover our written language comes from play and play alone.
Imagination has been fostered when colours are swiped on paper, when glue and paint come out to play. Quality tools have been manipulated to strengthen fingers with much block play and building to encourage these digits to work independently of one another. Random shapes and swirls marked on paper have begun to convey a message with experimentation of letter formation using real life print* as inspiration. And above all, the foundations of her literacy learning have been cemented in an abundance of rich language -everyday conversational language, sing songy and rhythmic nursery rhyme language and effervescent, enchanting picture book language.
Quietly I have been tucking away thrifted Milly Molly Mandy books and casting my mind's eye over the towering collection of Enid Blyton's slumbering safely in my parents' garage. Old bills, notes and scraps of paper are being collected and cut into child friendly sizes to be stapled into books for my budding authoress. A beautiful alphabet chart may be purchased some time soon but for now she will find her way to literacy in the best possible way - slowly, deeply and through play.
I made some vintage wallpaper covered pencil tins to hold all my honey girl's tools. Large tins of diced tomatoes were purchased and their contents frozen in one cup portions for later use. After thoroughly cleaning the tins, scraps of vintage wallpaper were cut long enough to wrap around the tin with a few centimetres overlap and wide enough to hang about 4-5 centimetres over the top. Using a hot glue gun the wallpaper was attached to the tin. Small snips were made along the top stopping at the top of the tin. These pieces were folded down and glued into place to cover the sharp edge. The tins were then screwed onto the side of her desk and filled with an array of stationary delights. Her pencils are are now easily accessible for all sorts of creating and also easy to put away.
*Real life print refers to the writing on cereal packets, tins and jars, Mumma' shopping lists, calendars and birthday party invitations, dockets, cards and writing on everyday items.