About the speaker: Dr Valerie Muter is a consultant clinical psychologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital where she specialises in working with children with both developmental and neurologically based learning disorders. Visit Val's website at www.psykidz.co.uk.
Further information about this Talk
Visit Val's website at www.psykidz.co.uk.
To get hold of Valerie Muter's and Helen Likierman's latest book on how parents can prepare their child for school please click here.
Key Points Covered in This Talk:
- There are lots of preschool activities to help develop pre-writing skills. If your child can develop good fine motor skills and pencil control before they start school they are going to find handwriting that much easier. The following tips will help preschool children develop pre-writing skills so they become good handwriters when they start school.
- Building up fine motor skills: Preschool children should be given lots of opportunity to do activities that will build up fine motor skills. This means painting, drawing, dot-to-dot work, colouring in, pencil and paper mazes etc.
- Develop a good/correct pencil grip: It is much harder for a child to undo a poor pencil grip after they have started school. It's therefore good to get it right from the beginning. If they do hold the pencil correctly, children will have much more control and handwriting will be easier and much clearer.
- Learning letters: It is useful to teach preschool children some of the letters of the alphabet. Start with the letters in the child's name and then build up from there to a few other letters. Preschool children do not need to be able to write all the letters of the alphabet before starting school but it is a good if they can at least autograph their own paintings by writing their first name. Not only should you introduce children to pencil and paper writing but also other play activities to build up handwriting skills. You can use sand trays (where a child uses his or her finger to draw the letters in the sand); glue and glitter; and drawing / painting activities with paintbrushes and big crayons.
- Many play orientated activities during the preschool years can be turned into settings in which to develop good fine motor skills, the correct pencil grip, and a familiarity with writing at least some of the letters of the alphabet.