Children’s Early Learning

    Impact: Public policy Impact, Social Impact

    Impact summary

    Learning to write is one of the big challenges for students in the first years of schooling. Dr Mackenzie's research shows that drawing and writing are related ways of communicating and being understood. When children are encouraged to draw as the first step in communicating, they tend to become confident, flexible writers compared to children who are taught drawing and writing separately.

    An increasing number of educators and families are using this approach to teach children to write, and are finding that young children can make big gains in literacy through fun and positive learning. The approach is being adopted in Australia and overseas. For example, in 2016, the research informed the revised Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF) which provided the framework for all sectors involved in the care and education of Victorian children between the ages of 0 and 8. Findings were also shared with Indigenous Health Care Workers at the Aboriginal Health NSW State Conference in Sydney (2014) and in Iceland and Scotland (2016). The research findings are required reading for teacher education students in courses at Charles Sturt University, the University of Canberra, University of Melbourne and Monash University.

    An output from this research (Teaching Early Writers) was the most popular paper accessed through Informit (a leading education information management service) in 2015.
    Impact date2012
    Category of impactPublic policy Impact, Social Impact
    Impact levelAdoption


    • Early childhood educators
    • Children
    • Early learning
    • Learning to write
    • Drawing
    • Literacy

    Countries where impact occurred

    • Australia
    • Iceland
    • United Kingdom