Mostly, when we hear about graphomotor skills and the development of writing, we may get the impression that we and our child will be dealing with it only in the primary school. The writing is something that is usually taught and happening there. Is it really like this? Does it surprise you if somebody tells you that there are many steps before, so your child will be able to manage this difficult discipline? Steps which we should be thinking of and make sure our child to be successful? Would it be too exaggerated if I would tell you that it actually begins straight after the birth or around the first year at least? Maybe it would, maybe it wouldn´t. These lines are intended just for you if this is new information for you. In general, we perceive things very separately. This is also the case of writing. We get the impression that it is a certain capability which the children learn in the first grade. Yes, it is true, but the thing is how it can be done successfully. And it often depends on the child´s development until then. There are many partial capabilities that take part in writing. Capabilities which the child should master perfectly until then. It can be the right posture, the right pencil holding, relaxed shoulder, wrist, learned pinch grip, lightness of the hand, coordination of the eye and the hand, space perception, concentration, etc. I don´t want to mention all the points, it wouldn’t be even possible, so I will point only a few of them out. If somebody would be interested there are many ways how to get much more information.
I will begin with the development of gross motor skills. We all know that we just need to coordinate our bodies well. If the children have enough possibilities to stay in different environments, they will train it completely on their own – in the woods, in the playgrounds, at home, in the classroom. We have lot of such possibilities in the classroom from bringing the tool to a table or a floormat (which needs to be prepared as well), a careful walk between any other floormats, training of coordination on a line and many others.
Fine motor skills look also easily and logically. We can practice only by activities. By the actual and real activities. All around us. By getting dressed, activities in a kitchen such as cutting, spreading, washing, drying, wiping, sweeping, polishing of items or washing the windows, ironing, washing, the right dining and holding the cutlery (the children are able to do it on their own when they are a year and half), garden works and many others. The truth is that we usually don´t allow them to do it because of safety issues. I think it´s shame, believe me or not, they love it so much.
By us, there is also the sensorial area, where the children separate senses, shapes, lightness of the hand, the pinch grip and many other important aspects.
Next, it is ability to use a brush, chalk, graphite, pencil or others. There the trick begins. All these things lead to the points mentioned above and to a relaxing of the hand. If the hand is not ready and the hand will get a pencil then the WRONG HABIT is created – such as the wrong holding the pencil, spasm, pushing on a pencil and so on. And as we know the wrong habits are re-taught worse than if we learn a new skill the right way.
We don´t recommend the parents to give the children pencils or markers (or any other writing tools) to their hands before that the child has a really developed pinch grip and is able to hold the pencil the right way. Especially the markers, unfortunately, help that if the child switches to the pencil, which doesn´t leave so strong trace, the children usually push. They can draw in a younger age, of course, but crayons in the shape of drops are appropriate. And if they are ready for pencils, use the ticker ones, triangular, which help to the right grip. And also I must not forget, very important thing is also the size of a paper which the child uses at an early age. The size of site should be as big as possible just for relaxing and training in coordination of movement. Everything smaller than A4 size is not appropriate if the child doesn´t have developed basic assumptions. It´s appropriate to draw on a blackboard, floor, big sizes of paper (if the child holds the brush or chalks the right way, etc.). And then leave it to him. Don´t make any templates, leave a coloring book in a drawer and enjoy that what he creates. And if he creates by a table it´s very important to check if he sits straight. To sit straight, with a relaxed arm, legs firm on a floor.
This is a very important condition before the child starts writing with a pencil – and if he is ready you can begin to discover the world commanded by our hand and thoughts – drawing and follow up the writing. We will talk about it next time.
Have a beautiful day.