Writing is a most necessary skill which the child has to develop before the child is ready to write. We all know that we can not start doing things at once. There should have been adequate practice beforehand. When it comes to a child’s ability to write, the situation is similar.
The writing skills have a process to be developed. In the Montessori method, we call it Pre-writing activities and skills. The child at the age of 21/2 unconsciously by holding the spoon, taring papers, threading beads starts to develop the pencil grip.
By 3 to 4 years the child is gradually introduced to simple writing patterns and then moves on to different writing patterns.
Steps to get started
Children always use their hands to manipulate objects in the environment. At the age of 2 or 21/2, you can start giving small activities. Avoid stopping the child in the things he does. Below are few activities that you can do to prepare your child in writing which was also done in a Montessori environment. The activities will help the child first prepare the hands.
- Manipulate toys
- Cut and tear
- Paint with fingers and paint brushes
- Transferring small grains from one container to another
- Using the tweezer
- Use of the spoon
Writing in a Montessori class
After the child has enough practice with preparing hands and fingers, gradually the child will be working with activities that helps him prepare his mind.
- Sandpaper letters
- Sand tray
Before the writing worksheets and after the preparation of mind the child moves on to,
- Tracing shapes
- Free drawing
- Metal insets
After having enough practice in preparing the child’s mind the child can move on doing,
- Worksheets with dotted lines
- Tracing patterns
Types and benefits of pre-writing activities
Pre-writing skills can be developed in multiple ways.
- Copying the line
- Join the dots
- Tracing patterns
- Tracing shapes
All the pre-writing activities deliver a unique set of benefits to the child
- Eye hand coordination
- Preparation for writing
- Help pencil grip
Writing Pattern exercises help the child writing letters, numbers, shapes, and other activities that the child encountered. They have various lines when it comes to letters. After a lot of practice, the toddler will be able to write the letters effortlessly with the help of writing patterns.
These lines have different names. The child will learn the names of the lines and will be easier to develop writing skills.
Writing Patterns are important for the child to move the pencils easily. Lack of practice will lead to frustration for the child and the child might even refuse to write in the future with very poor self-esteem.
How to know whether the child has a writing readiness or lacking in it
- The child will be facing difficulties in colouring inside the picture even when he is at the age of 5.
- Handwriting is messy.
- They will use the whole hand instead of doing a hand division. (using the whole hand instead of the 3 fingers).
- Hesitate in writing activities though they are good verbally.
- Shows a wired way of pencil grip.
- Ask for help of others to draw a picture because of the lack of self-esteem.
- Changes of behaviour.
How to help a child who is lacking in prewriting skills
‘There is always a way. You can always help your child when you see the above behaviors of your child regarding Prewriting skills.
Help the child engage in more activities that allow the child to manipulate objects using the fingers. Help the child develop his motor skills. Giving more activities that help the child use his eye-hand coordination can improve his prewriting skills. Encouragement is necessary for a child to develop self-esteem. At home, you can let him work with scissors to cut out shapes, sensory play, more coloring and, additionally writing pattern books.
Challenges the child can face
When a child begins to write, the child faces difficulties. In a toddler, they’re very common. Remember that if your child has had enough practice developing fine motor abilities, he will never have to deal with these situations.
As a Montessori educator, I have come across children who get confuses with similar-looking letters. Children will always outgrow this habit. This challenge is common in children. Always positively correct them. How can You do it? We can always use the help of the Sandpaper letters. Get the child to trace and have enough practice with it. It is very common with children to reverse the letter ‘b’ and ‘d’, ‘p’ and ‘q’. Sometimes they write the letter ‘a’ the other way. You can correct them by using an interesting line such as ‘a line and a tummy’ to write ‘b’. As educators and parents, we must find ways that get the child’s attention.
Some children are using both hands and changing from time to time. This is because they are not sure of which hand, they are familiar with. The child needs more activities on fine motor skills. If you are not sure about the child’s dominating hand what you can do is observe. Give transferring activities, picking activities, you can also observe while they are eating.
When to start and where to stop is also one of the challenges that the parents and educators must observe. This must be fixed at the beginning. Sandpaper letters can help this issue.
It is better to observe and attend to these challenges at the early age of a child before it becomes a habit and affects his whole future. See you with another beautiful topic @ToddlersTown