At this stage in the year I would be doing a small amount of name writing practise for the children who are starting school in September. The children are all at very different stages, so start from where they are and move them on. For example, if they are not yet forming letters, start with the first letter of their name. If they are but not forming correctly, give them a little help with some letters. If they are writing their first name, start on their surname.
Before we can be writers we need our muscles to be developed in our arms and shoulders. Activities which are great for this are
- big arm movements
At this age, it’s important to not push writing too much or it can put children off. Some little hands are not quite developed yet, and writing can actually hurt. Here are some activities which can help to strengthen those hands and fingers
- using pegs-squeezing and gripping
- posting things-pennies in a money box
- picking up little things-buttons, pieces of pasta
- squeezing-sponges, playdough (have you seen Shonette Bason’s Dough Disco. It’s great and she’s hilarious! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCj0shfH3pzhrf3dOrSj_pRw)
- squeezy bottles in the bath
Big writing is great! Brilliant for building those muscles and for getting moving!
- paintbrushes and water
- writing in the sky with fingers
- writing in sand, salt, sugar with fingers
- making letters with play dough
- finger painting letters
For reluctant writers try
- you write, I write (write a letter each)
- different colours, give a choice of pens/paper/books
- let your child be the teacher
- write other children’s names
(see also ideas for the boys below)
Boys tend to be more reluctant ( I am being very general here!) They like to have a purpose to write!
- labels for construction
- write lists
- write jobs and check them off
- write letters
- make maps
- write secret notes
- sellotape paper on walls/underneath tables to write on
- give them boxes to play with and write on
- write outside
- don’t insist they sit at a table
Developmentally they are a little behind the girls and so writing can become a bit of a chore and even painful. You write their ideas for them.
It is important to try and teach them the correct formation, as it is difficult to “unlearn”. In Nursery, I let them write, tell them it’s brilliant, and tell them now we are going to make it even better, and write it in the way they do in Big School. If you still have issues around this email me, and I can send a short video showing them how to form the letters in their names.
Celebrate ALL writing! Your child’s writing at this stage may look like “scribble” or marks. It’s still writing.
Send me photographs of any writing and I’ll reply to them with a big wow and well done!
There is a video below which shows the correct way to form letters. (We don’t use Epic phonics in school but it’s a nice little video).There's also one for numbers.
The important thing is that writing is pleasurable! Once it becomes a chore children may switch off, so don’t stress, just leave it for another day! Don’t compare your child to an older sibling or a friend. They will get there!
There are different types of pencil grip, and again all children are at different stages. What we work towards is the correct ”froggy legs” grip(the tripod grip) If your child isn’t at this stage yet, just gently move them on to the next grip, but don’t worry if they revert back to what is comfortable right now.