Scribbling is Not Allowed Here



Do you consider this a weird statement to make, or are you thinking that scribbling really is a waste of time, energy, and resources? The following true story might help you clarify a few things.

Bolatito is a 3-year-old in Nursery 1, she actually started school when she was 2 years 7 months old. She has not settled into school very well. Bolatito can’t understand why she has to leave Mum and her little brother at home and come to this place filled with other children. Neither can she understand why she has to write for most of the time she is in school. She loves the singing though that is all she likes. At the daily assembly, they do a lot of singing, that she really loves, but most of the rest of school she doesn’t understand.

Her teacher, Miss Makinde, Bolatito can’t say this name correctly and Mrs. Makinde is always correcting her and only her, ‘My name is not Madee it is Makinde’, well she had asked the children to write their letters, and to be honest Bolatito did hot really care for that kind of task. ‘What were these funny shapes called letters?’ This whole thing of just drawing those shapes did not make sense to her. If Mrs. Madee put a pencil and paper in front of her and asked her to just do as she pleased that would work because then she would just draw and draw and draw so many lines round and round and straight sometimes. But then again Bolatito thought, Mrs. Madee would not do that because she knew for a fact that her dear teacher hated the drawings she did.

Bolatito had tried that out a couple of weeks ago and she found out the hard way that this was definitely not one of the activities Mrs. Madee would accept. They had started the school term the week before and in their handwriting book, the children were encouraged to scribble that was so much fun. Bolatito could not get enough of that exercise, when she got home she asked her mom for a pencil and paper and was scribbling away to her hearts’ content for about a week, but everything fell apart thereafter.

What had happened was that the following week Mrs. Makinde who was simply following the Lesson plan for the week introduced Number writing and Alphabet writing, she asked the children to trace the number I and the Letter a and then the next day simply copy it. Now for Bolatito, she was dumbfounded, what is this 1 and a writing all about. She simply just wanted to use the pencil and feel it touch and watch it draw those beautiful lines all over her paper. Why o why won’t Mrs. Madee let them do that?

Bolatito thought to herself if I do my lines maybe Mrs. Makkinndee will see how beautiful it is and will let us continue drawing free instead of this 1 and a business. Well, Bolatito did draw her lines and proudly presented it to her teacher, carefully pronouncing her name making sure she got it all right this time: ‘Mrs. Maakkkinddee, see my own’ said our little Bolatito with a proud smile on her face. She has even used different colour pencils to make it look more beautiful!

Mrs. Makinde looked up from her desk, took one look at Bolatito’s work, goodness her face was in a rage, her eyes were red. She stood up and pulled her ears.

‘Is this what I asked you to do?

Scribbling is not allowed here!

Look at Kola and Mary’s work, why must you be so stubborn?

Victor, get me that stick, 5 hard ones on your bum and 5 on your fingers.

Next time you will do as you are told.’


Forget about the excruciating pain, Bolatito never scribbled again, neither did she tell her parents what happened, but from that day getting her to school was an additional chore.

Mrs. Makinde noticed that Bolatito was no longer cheerful, nor did she interact with the others in her class. She kept to herself and did as she was told but with writing chores she did nothing. She always gave in a blank sheet…

Mrs. Makinde is at a loss, she is aware that Bolatito’s attitude changed dramatically after the incident where she lost it over the scribbling. She is ashamed of herself and doesn’t know what to do. If she does nothing this situation could affect Bolatito for life! She now regrets flying off the handle, her Scribbling is not allowed here incident is now about to create a situation with very grave consequences for the future success of a child in her care!

My question to you dear parents and teachers is this, what do you think Mrs. Makinde could have done? What should she do now? And most importantly has this story helped you in any way understand what is going on in a child’s mind so you can help them and not do otherwise?

Will scribbling be allowed in your home, school, classroom setting and for how long, one week or as long as it takes for the child to gain enough control of this tool they will use all through their lives to express their thoughts and ideas, to answer questions and plan their dreams? Prepare for scribbling by providing crayons, pencils, and paper. Also, include a little talk about not scribbling on walls but that we do it on paper. I am not saying they will not scribble on the walls but this might help reduce the incidences. It’s part of having children and running a classroom and a school….


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