Early Writing Project 23/24

Becoming a Writer in Leaps and Bounds!

Developing children’s motivation and confidence in writing in the EYFS.

Why should your school be involved in this project?

Becoming a Writer in Leaps and Bounds projects have successfully improved the confidence, motivation and attainment of children in more than 300 nurseries, pre-schools, children’s centres and Reception and Y1 classes. Though the projects were initially devised in response to concerns about boys’ underachievement, the response has been highly positive for both boys and girls.


The project is aimed at Early Years teachers and co-ordinators but it is also suitable for nursery settings.

How does the project work?

This project motivates children to write in playful contexts that have a meaning for them. When children are motivated and think – “I want to write!” – they develop the confidence to think – “I can write!”. They will then choose to write, allowing them to practise and embed the taught skills.

The project will empower Early Years practitioners to teach children the way that children learn best – through play, creative learning and observation-led planning. Classroom research undertaken as part of the project will enhance practitioners’ ability to teach the skills of writing while also maintaining the ethos and principles of the EYFS. Practitioners will have the opportunity to engage in action research in their classrooms, ask some important questions about why some children, often boys, are underachieving, and to explore what will motivate and build confidence in all of their young writers.

Previous projects have had significant impact on the number of children attaining 6 scale points in the EYFSP, showing:

  • Significant improved outcomes in communication and language
  • Significant improved outcomes in writing

Project Aims:

  • To develop a good understanding of how young children learn to write
  • To understand how to teach early writing in the way that children learn best – through play and active learning
  • To develop the use of observation-led planning
  • To involve parents and carers in the development of their children’s communication, language and literacy skills
  • To enable all children to develop creative and functional writing skills in playful contexts that have meaning for them, both inside and outside
  • To ask some important questions about why boys are underachieving, and to explore what works best for boys
  • To give practitioners the opportunity to reflect on their practice and engage in action research in their classrooms.

Project outcomes:

  • Children will have made excellent progress in Communication and Language and in Writing
  • Children will have improved indoor and outdoor writing environments
  • Early years teachers will have improved understanding in how to develop children’s language, communication and literacy skills
  • Teachers will have strengthened partnerships with parents

Project Structure

The project will start in the autumn term with one full day’s training for project leads. Ideally, head teachers, literacy leads and nursery managers will join in the afternoon to enable them to support the project work throughout the year. This will be followed up with a visit to your school and then conclude with a half day in the summer term.

Session 1

Setting up the Classroom Research Project

In this session Julie will focus on how children learn to write, underpinned by Prime areas of learning. She will also cover how to develop a writing-rich environment, how we can involve the parents in the children’s learning and the role of the adult in supporting the children’s writing through the characteristics of effective learning.

Finally, each school will be given valuable information on how to carry out a piece of classroom research during the project.

Session 2

On site visit to your school

Before the end of the autumn term each school will have a half day visit from us to support project leads with their action planning and answer any questions they might have moving forward with the project.

Session 3

End of Project Celebration

The project will end with a half day in the summer term where schools will come together to celebrate the project. Each school will write a short end of project summary to further their understanding and inform their development going forwards. Julie will collate and summarise the main findings from the projects and then most importantly, there will be time for schools to share their best practices from the project!

Early Writing Project


Julie Cigman

Early Years consultant

Julie is an independent Early Years consultant and author. She has taught in maintained Nursery Schools in Oxford and throughout the Primary age range. She spent a number of years as Early Years lead for a PGCE SCITT based at Oxford Brookes University before working as an advisory teacher with Oxfordshire County Council. In this later role, she took a countywide lead on Equalities and Literacy.

She now works as an independent Early Years consultant and author. She has written well-received books on supporting boys’ learning and development and early writing, and she created and has led early writing projects in over 300 schools and Early Years settings.

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