#4 Write Dance

Dear parents and carers,

We hope you are all well and have enjoyed the Easter weekend as much as possible. Thanks again we have been enjoying all of the photos and videos you have been posting on Tapestry, and we hope you are enjoying seeing videos from staff there too.

Writing/physical development

Children’s physical development is so important and underpins so much other development, linking most obviously to health and wellbeing, including evidence showing a link between children’s physical confidence and social confidence.

Another important link is how children’s development of gross motor and fine motor skills has a huge impact on their developing writing skills. At nursery we give the children lots of opportunities to make marks from a very early age.

We know that mark-making may be tricky if you’ve used up all the paper already (we get through a lot of paper at nursery!) – but mark-making can happen with paintbrushes and water, chalking or painting other surfaces eg outside or in the bath (check that it washes off first!), painting on old sheets/fabric; cardboard boxes, or with sticks in mud in the garden/park…


But also there’s lots of other gross motor and fine motor skills that help with writing! Here’s just a few ideas to get you thinking, I know you all already have lots more! These are good for all ages, although babies would struggle with some of the fine motor skills! All of these help children develop the strength and co-ordination so that drawing and mark-making is fun!

Whole body and shoulder strength – carrying, pushing and pulling heavy objects eg laundry basket, buckets of water; helping with sweeping, hoovering and mopping; action songs like row row row your boat that include pulling; swinging and hanging; throwing and catching large balls; tummy time for babies (and tummy time drawing/mark-making for all ages!); painting (with paint or water) with large decorators brushes and rollers.
Hand strength: squeezing water from empty shampoo bottles at bath time, squeezing sponges, picking up and carrying stones and other hand-size objects; construction toys such as lego; ripping tissue paper; using BBQ or kitchen tongs to pick up objects; one-handed tools such as (children’s) scissors

Hand-eye coordination:  posting letters/pictures into a slot; posting pipe cleaners or spaghetti through holes in colanders, action nursery rhymes eg ‘wind the bobbin up’;
Finger strength: threading (beads or penne pasta on a shoe-lace or on spaghetti sticks); peeling and sticking stickers; popping bubble wrap; fastening buttons and zips; using tweezers to pick up objects; posting beads or marbles into a bottle (only for older children with close supervision due to potential choking hazard!);


Weekly challenge #4: Write Dance

Can you try a write dance session at home?

At Clapton Park we run regular ‘Write Dance’ sessions with all the children, and we are planning to introduce these at Ann Tayler as well. This is a fun programme that encourages children to practice big and small movements through dance and drama, along to music, and then making marks to songs and music too, either with crayons, chalks, finger painting, or paintbrushes and water.

The most important thing is for it to be fun and focused on the movements children are making, to develop their strength and confidence, not worrying about what the marks look like.

1) Choose some music that evokes a particular mood or story (you can start with something from this playlist – just use the audio not the video) - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0qMbOTTHlEN2kkmG_PnGpEm0msIbY1Yv
2) Dance with your child to the music, come up with actions together, talk about what kinds of movements you want to make (gentle, fast, slow, big, zig-zag, swirly etc). Alternatively, if you choose a song with a theme, you can act out movement’s related to the theme (eg making movements of a train) and talk about them.

3) using big paper on the floor and crayons, or chalks, or paintbrushes and water on the pavement (or whatever mark-making resources you have available!), have fun making big movements and marks along to the music. Again talk about the kinds of movements and patterns (round-and-round, jagged lines, smooth lines…)

Experiment with different kinds of music and see how differently you can move and draw!
for an example of what Write Dance looks like with a class of (slightly older) children, see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uqf1D0xPv8
For more information about Write Dance, how it developed and the theory behind it, see here: https://www.teachwire.net/news/introducing-write-dance

Best wishes,

All staff at Clapton Park Children’s Centre