Do you ever think about reading and writing going alongside building blocks? If it seems strange, think about real life – if there was a real building or building site, would we expect to see some form of writing? What about signs, forms for checking in, safety instructions? If you haven’t noticed – be sure, the children have!
Writing tends to happen organically at Kids Build Together. By that I mean there is no need for an adult to request the child to write anything – they will naturally create signs, invitations, displays and other forms of writing. Sometimes they’ll ask help with spelling, other times they’ll work it out themselves. Sometimes it’ll be pseudo-writing (scribble) and sometimes it will be upper case mixed in with lower case.
What is our role? To provide the paper, pens and tape for the signs; to obey the instructions they put down; to help with spelling, if asked, and to leave it alone, if unasked; to read their messages, if they’re made public.
I might suggest, if a child is becoming frustrated when solving a problem, that they draw a diagram; if they decide against it, fine, but it’s another tool that they can use if necessary. Putting the pens and paper out for children is another suggestion in itself, which they can take or leave.
Unscripted, unforced writing is an insight into a child’s mind and is precious. Giving them the opportunity to do so is important for their own learning. And paying attention without judgement is essential.
Here are some forms of writing we’ve seen at Kids Build Together: