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In Part 1, we established that literacies are the ways that human beings use various symbol systems to communicate meaning with others and, in Part 2, we will continue to build on these core principles. 

Recall the idea that literacies are multimodal: in other words, literacy is not only about talking, reading, and writing, although these are really important and will be addressed in Part 3 of this course. We also learned that literacies develop from birth – some would argue before a baby is born – and are shaped by the cultural practices children engage in at home. Children bring their knowledges and experiences of literacies from home to their early childhood contexts.   

In this section, we will explore some of the ways that children learn to understand and express their meaning in embodied, nonverbal ways.

We will consider:
  • How young children might engage in embodied, nonverbal literacies
  • Connections between embodied literacies and everyday play and social interactions
  • Ways that early childhood teachers can encourage children to develop embodied literacies
  • The role of digital technologies in supporting children to make and share meaning
This will involve:
  1. Watching a video with Professors Mary Kalantzis and Bill Cope about embodied literacies in early childhood
  2. Reading about the ways in which young children might use embodied and nonverbal literacies
  3. Reflecting on how you have observed children in your setting use embodied literacies to communicate
  4. Watching videos with teachers from Elim International Kids Early Childhood Centre and Stokes Valley Kindergarten talk about the way they support and promote embodied and digital literacies in their different settings
  5. Inquiring into how your focus child uses embodied and nonverbal means of communicating

There is also a wealth of further reading and additional resources if you would like to learn more about supporting embodied and nonverbal literacies.

Revisit your learning

Your observations will likely have illustrated that literacies are multimodal – in other words, not limited to talking and reading. Children are learning how to understand and express themselves in multiple ways, and each child has their own unique pattern of strengths in communicating meaning with others.