Growing Writers at Trafford Nursery

Emma Dunsmore, Manager at Bright Horizons Trafford, tells us about Growing Writers in her nursery.

Our Growing Writers programme  inspires children to learn early handwriting skills.

Growing Writers is more than just handwriting. It’s the process of children learning about mark making, what letters mean, emergent writing and concentration before the end product of writing.

It complements the government educational initiative for letters and sounds, and we find that children flourish through the creative and pedagogically appropriate activities we provide (both programmes). In preschool, the staff embed Growing Writers and support learning how to write, alongside identifying letters and sounds to support literacy, concentration and then handwriting. We help our children to mark make and write by the time they leave our nursery, giving them the confidence to feel ready for school.

Growing Writers at Bright Horizons Day Nursery and Preschool 

At Bright Horizons Trafford, we follow the children’s lead by observing which activities they enjoy and scaffolding the learning around their interests and how they like to learn. This makes our staff effective pedagogical leaders as they have a genuine interest in how each child learns and develops. The activities are fun and creative and as Growing Writers is play-based around children’s interests, this means the children are able to develop early writing skills and form a solid foundation for future learning.


This involves such things as:

  • Mark making with different tools and resources, such as using fingers in biodegradable glitter and finger painting, before children develop the fine motor skills and muscles to hold pencils or crayons.
  • The staff writing letters of a child’s name or initial sounds in the sand to provide the opportunity  for children to learn what they should look like and then mark make with their finger. Using their fingers to learn through trial and error builds confidence.
  • Threading and sewing, although not mark making, prepares children for this by developing hand eye coordination.
  • Using children’s own interests for example in the construction area and providing resources so can mark make and design.
  • Ensuring rooms are print rich, so children have plenty of examples to see letters and words in their environment.
  • Encouraging children to find their own name with associated picture at register, so they are learning and becoming familiar with looking for the letters in their name.
  • Introducing confident mark makers to handwriting tools, which can be an exciting process for children as they achieve milestones.

Mark Making

Our top tip for families is not to rush using writing tools such as pencils and pens as younger children’s hands and fingers may not be ready. Instead, focus on activities that promote children’s fine motor skills to prepare their muscles for the next stage of writing.

To find out more, please contact your local Bright Horizons nursery, as throughout January our nurseries will be exploring a range of fun activities linked to our unique Growing Writers enhancement. We will be focusing on the importance of writing and mark making, encouraging the expression of thoughts and ideas, as well as teaching methods to effectively support your child to become a confident writer. Ask us today for more information on how we help your child to develop their fine motor skills.