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Practitioner's Guide to Creating the perfect Mark-Making Area.

A mark-making area is recommended to be beneficial for children of all ages in the early year’s foundation stage. Through mark-making, children build early writing skills and learn how to express themselves through marks and pictures.

Creating an outstanding mark-making area for young children requires setting up a resource-rich environment that children can easily access. Making your mark making area impressive is only a matter of a few little details.

Mark making areas should be located not only in the setting, but also outside. Think about how you might be able to add a marking area to your outdoor space. It is up to you whether to create a separate area within your room for mark making or whether you incorporate it into another area. It may be best to integrate your mark making resources into your messy area or into your role play area. As long as your reason for making the choice can be explained to an early year’s Ofsted inspector, there's no right or wrong decision.

What resources do I need?

Any effective mark-making area will contain a variety of resources, which can remain the same or be changed. Other resources can be added based on the children's interests. The mark-making section should appeal to both boys and girls, and you may want to think about how to engage your boys more. It might be worth incorporating some free-standing easels since boys tend to like to be up on their feet making larger gross motor movements. Check out the resource list we've compiled to discover what you're lacking in your mark making area.

  • Pencils, pens, felt tip pens, wax crayons, chalk, whiteboard pens, coloured crayons – These should be organized into separate containers. Pencils and crayons should always be sharpened.

  • Paper – Any type of paper is acceptable, from large sheets to individual pieces, lined or blank. Invest in some scrapbooks that your children can fill and use with pride if you find they waste a lot of paper. As well as collecting evidence, this is a convenient way to keep track of the children's work.

  • Dry-Wipe Whiteboards - When Wedge Whiteboards are integrated into play-based learning activities, children will have fun and develop confidence with mark-making, helping to create a positive attitude towards learning. You can teach academic skills such as math and language using Wedge whiteboards, but this can be done in a way that involves children being creative and interacting together.

  • Words, name cards, books – In the mark-making area, anything that provides children with an idea of what words look like is a great resource. We are not explicitly teaching the children to write, but we are giving them the choice to express themselves.

  • Clipboards or small portable boards such as Wedge Jotters – Using these is a great way for children to take their mark-making wherever they go. They are especially useful if you plan to do your mark-making in other areas.

  • Rulers and measuring tools – Mark-making areas often have these. By bringing numbers into the mark-making area, you are enhancing mathematical development. Often, these encourage children to make marks that are direct and purposeful.

  • Anything topic related – Consider adding some leaves to your mark-making area if your topic is autumn so the children can make leaf rubbings.

  • Anything messy – Mark-making with shaving foam, wet sand, gloop, or finger paints is a great sensory experience for children. This is a fun way to get children to make marks and think about the marks they're leaving behind.

We have listed some resources you can add to your mark-making area, but we would love to hear your ideas too.


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