Friday, 31 October 2014
'Mum can I write that down?' - how to help kids enjoy writing
Many kids aren't developmentally ready until as old as 7, and the rise of tech-based indoor play means that even older kids are only capable of swishing a screen with a finger and find anything else uncomfortable. So with reluctant writers the first question is how can you support their development so that holding a pencil is comfortable - the answer is play, with real objects to hold and manipulate, and plenty of climbing to build up strong hand muscles. Plenty of drawing is a great way to build up confidence with a pencil too.
We then decided the recipe worked so well we needed to keep it, so Ollie made a recipe card. Matt drew a border and some lines and held the cookie cutter shape for Ollie to draw around. Ollie then painted it in and copied the recipe onto the lines below (I added in a few bits as by now he was starting to get ready to move on to the next game and there's a balance to be found between encouraging perseverance and not discouraging by insisting on finishing a task when it doesn't really matter). Ollie very proudly pinned his recipe card to the fridge with a magnet and off he went to play.
I'm not saying there is no place for handwriting practice as it is a way to encourage legible writing, but the prime aim of writing should not be forgotten - to record and communicate information and ideas. Also, having said that many kids aren't ready for writing until 7, I don't believe in holding kids back who are capable and eager either. Children are individuals and are ready for things at different times. Ollie is writing pretty well at 4 (almost 5), who knows if Toby will be the same, I just hope that we can keep learning as fun as it is now so that they never lose the joy they have in it. They certainly will never be given lines to write out as a punishment!