I’m always excited to hear from followers of my blog and connecting with readers through Twitter or by e-mail. Recently, teachers from Mere Green Primary have shared ways they have been using the Young Children Can Create books that I published with Kristi Meeuwse and Jason Milner in August 2018. This blog post has been written by Terri Coombs and Rebecca Murray from Mere Green Primary School and shares the impact that The Rich Potential of Young Children’s Drawing book has had on their early years practice.
I was introduced to Marc at the launch of Apple’s new Everyone Can Create curriculum in London in October 2018, and he shared with us the resources he had co-written about using technology in the early years.
We had recently deployed 1:1 devices in our Yr2 class, and immediately realised that some of the basic skills of iPad usage were missing, meaning the children could not yet be independent content creators across a range of media. We were looking for a resource to implement into our Early Years classes, that would enable children to skilful users of iPad before they reached Y2.
The Rich Potential of Young Children’s drawing, photography and video was an ideal starting place.
Our experience of The Rich Potential of Young Children’s Drawing.
The Rich Potential of Young Children’s Drawing has a wealth of imaginative ideas that are real, easy to implement and relevant to Early Years, providing staff with a scaffold of skill based learning activities.
We began by using the book as a ‘curriculum guide’ to enhance the creative provision in our Nursery and Reception classes. The book acted as a guide that modelled and provided CPD for staff on how iPad based learning can easily be included and embedded into daily provision with purposeful results.
The activities in the book provided us with basis of an Early Years IPad Curriculum that will support the progression of children’s skills across the Early Years to become effective iPad users, but also allows for freedom in planning and child initiated learning allowing children to take ownership of the ways in which they choose to present their learning.
This half term we introduced the teaching of skills to enable the children to communicate through drawing.
Assessing understanding in Early Years is an ongoing challenge, allowing children time to communicate through drawing, has enabled them to interpret and articulate their thoughts in an individual way. Children were enthused and engaged when given the freedom to create something different, those who were previously reluctant to use Pen and paper to record ideas, were able and willing to use an iPad to create content.
In Nursery we wanted to celebrate how young children can make their mark on the world through mark making and drawing using iPads. The children used Sketches School to show their creativity in representing their own ideas through marks. Teachers encouraged the children to voice record onto the page to explain their drawings. Here a Nursery child to retells the story of the Three Little Pigs.
Reception children were encouraged to use their own interests or recall something that they have learnt by illustrating their drawings using vocabulary words to label them or to write sentences. In applying their phonics knowledge their were strong connections made between their drawings and learning written language. Once teachers had embedded the skills needed children could begin to take the lead and direct their own creative outcome.
In one instance a teacher came across a reluctant writer but keen iPad user, drawing a picture of Supertato which we had read as a class recently. When it was suggested that he could create this into a iBook for everyone to read he enthusiastically wrote a number of pages for the book independently. Some of his peers also became engaged and together they created pages from the story, recalling the key events. This was then imported from Sketches School into pages, before being converted published into iBooks. The children were highly engaged and motivated throughout and showed great pride in showing their work to others.
Marking Up Photography.
To inspire drawing from objects, we also used PhotoBooth and Mark Up. Here, children were challenged with marking out shapes in the creative photos that they took. This was a Y1 class, 30 children, 30 iPads, all mobile around the room, all engage, all focused and all producing something unique and creative.
“I’ve always avoiding using the iPads fearing the children would damage them” Reception Teacher
Modelling teaching using some of the concepts from the Drawing resource has enabled me to reverse this type of thinking. Teachers feel knowledgeable and empowered and are more likely to consistently include iPads in their learning environment.
Throughout our journey so far it has become clear that the effective use of iPads in the classroom has helped to produce an environment that values all kinds of individualised learning. It allowed us to facilitate rich learning opportunities through the use of stimulating and relevant resources. The devices became a tool where creation took the lead. All learners were engaged and developing in areas across the curriculum independently. The children were able to express themselves creatively while developing early literacy skills and applying their phonic knowledge. It also became clear that progress was evident in the children speech and physical development.
As we move further into our journey with using the Rich Potential of Young Children’s Drawings we hope to embed this further across all areas of the curriculum. Encouraging even more personalised learning and supporting the children in learning there are different ways they can approach a concept, challenge or problem. We hope for the children to become even more independent and creative in representing their own ideas as their skills progress throughout the year.
We are at the beginning of our adventure with the Young Children Can Create book series and look forward to implementing the ideas from Photography next.
You can download The Rich Potential of Young Children’s Drawing and the 3 other books from the Young Children Can Create series for free!