Implementation (Nursery & EYFS)
Writing in the Early Years
Throughout the Early Years we recognise that communication and language is the prerequisite to future successful writing. The children regularly have writing modelled to them through an approach to storytelling, known as Helicopter Stories. They develop an understanding that print carries meaning and writing has a purpose. The children are taught the author’s intentions as we read stories and begin to notice things of interest in illustrations and in the print. There are plenty of everyday opportunities to teach and consolidate the key principles of writing in order to lay a solid foundation for developing their skills as they move into KS1. Most importantly, we want children to have the passion and motivation to become creative writers. Child initiated writing is valued from the start with each child having their own mark making book that is unique to them.
In Nursery, we encourage and develop a love of writing through a combination of oral storytelling, nursery rhymes, and high quality texts. Children are introduced to Helicopter Stories where they orally tell their story to an adult who then scribes their story word for word in front of the child, modelling the writing process. Adults also tell their own stories giving children an understanding of the structure of a story. Children are encouraged to write their own stories in premade books, telling their stories through their drawings. As part of the provision, a range of tools are provided to support children with developing both their gross and fine motor skills in preparation for writing. The malleable area is particularly important for developing dexterity in children’s hands and fingers to allow them to successfully manipulate tools such as pencils and scissors. The children are exposed to a print rich environment where they are able to engage with familiar signs and words, such as their names and familiar greetings in their home languages. Children are able to see print in all areas of the classroom, such as phone books in the home corner and ‘Work in Progress’ signs in the construction area. Opportunities for mark making are also provided, with children making tickets to watch shows and writing shopping lists. When children are ready, they learn to form the letters in their name.
In Reception, we continue to build a love of writing through Helicopter Stories, poetry, and high-quality texts. When reading stories, time is given to exploring the author’s intentions in the written print. Children are encouraged to notice the size of the words and to question how the author intends us to read it. We further develop children’s storytelling language through our Talk for Writing units that give opportunities to introduce specific language such as time connectives. Children also learn to internalise the structure of a story, understanding there is a clear beginning, middle, and end. As children become more confident with applying their phonic knowledge, they learn to be creative with their writing, showing a greater awareness of their audience. They engage in many purposeful writing opportunities through play, such as taking written orders in their restaurant, writing their own ‘do not touch’ signs for their models, and writing short books of different genres, often using a combination of words and drawings.