Jump to content
Home
Forum
Join Us
Articles
About Us
Tapestry

Do We Teach Children To Write Their Own Names?


Recommended Posts

Hi All,

 

I had a long hard day today and my brain just does not want to work at the moment!!!

I work in a pre-school and we have had some feedback from a survey we have just carried out. A lot of our parents have been asking when we are going to teach their children to write their names! Does anyone have a short reply I could perhaps use as a response as to why all the gross and fine motor skills etc. need to be developed before handwriting can be perfected.

 

Thank you all.

Scottiedog

Edited by scottiedog
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm afraid I don't have a short answer but there is a leaflet available from Early Education (their Learning Together series) which addresses some of what I imagine you want to say. I found in our pre-school that, despite being quite well educated, our parents didn't realise that other skills and muscles needed to be developed before the children could be expected to sit and write their name. You can download the leaflet or order some for the cost of postage, and they have some others really helpful ones too on different aspects of learning.

 

http://www.early-education.org.uk/khxcee/i...mp;ref=leaflets

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was thinking of asking this too...

 

I always understood it that you can teach the child if they ask for your help. Parents may not want you to teach them and they may feel that you won't teach the correct formation.

*Ahem*butit'snotusthatteachesthemtowritetheirnamesinCAPS!*Ahem*

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Holly35

 

Thanks for the link, just ordered a set to put on the parent notice board. Thought they would be great to rotate every couple of weeks. Always nice to find something new to put on display board.

 

Scottiedog

Edited by scottiedog
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This reminds me of a mother who came to me recently proudly showing me her daughters drawing where daughter had written her name for the first time. I praised the child to which the mother added "we were up until late last night, she was moaning and crying but I sat her there until she did it and got it right".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I make sure that each new parent that comes to me knows what to expect in terms of the skills I hope children will leave my setting with. That way any parent that wants that sort of learning - compliant/inactive/worksheet/copying style etc will probably go elsewhere. I set out my aims as part of my transition policy - that I hope children will leave my setting with a positive disposition to learning, a love of books/song/language /rhyme/number/nature, a drive to develop their physical, self care and independence skills and the confidence to communicate and socialise with their peers and new adults - I hope that parents choose my setting because that is what they want too.

It is very frustrating though when parents want to rush their children through this stage.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

and the problem is you always get those parents, year in, year out......same old story...I get fed up with repeating myself but never loose sight of the importance of play based learning...give me my soap box! :oxD

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It depends on what you consider is "writing their name"

 

Most young children once they start to make marks have some sense of their name - after all it's very important to them and will often have some kind of mark that adults around them might well recognise as theirs. It's not correctly formed letter shapes but it's still their name!! If they do this I would be encouraging it.

 

Cx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with that. We have a whiteboard (near the board where children put their magnet name up to show they are in) with some whiteboard markers for those children who want to write their name up when they come in. Some children do a swirl and others their initial letter. Some children DO write their name, and that's lovely, but we don't pressurise EVER, and if children want to, ok, if they don't then that's ok too. As Catma says, those swirls and lines are very important to them as a self-esteem boost, especially when they are recognised by the adults around them

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with Cait and Catma it depends what you mean by writing. Giving opportunities to children to mark make to sign in encourages children in the same way that we encourage children to mark make in continuous provision. Opportunity, encouragement but no pressure. Many children do learn to write their names in this way. The contentious issue here is that they may not form letters correctly and get into a habit that is hard to correct. At what point do we intervene? I think that's the beginning of another discussion and I can see both sides of that one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I never felt confident in showing other peoples children how to form letters. I didnt want to get it wrong and none of my training ever addressed letter formation. I was always happy to provide the materials and to priase every mark but didnt want to go that far.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

encouraging, and providing opportunities for mark making is very different from coming under pressure from parents to "teach children to write their names" though, is it not?

I looked after a 4year old who's parents had "taught him to write his name". THis child engaged in no free or creative mark making for fear of getting it wrong and who would get very unhappy that his attempts to write "did not look good"

I completely agree that children should have opportunities to make marks and ascribe their name to them - i took the post to mean something different.

I have attended a really good mark making course but i have very little knowledge of how/when to support children in correct letter formation so perhaps there's a bit of a gap here

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think we were just discussing around the subject. I totally agree about children who have been 'forced' to write being reluctant writers. In Reception I have come across this with children whose parents have practised writing with them and copying words, and the children could not relax enough to have a go at writing for themselves in case it was wrong. I have also come across children who are very competent at drawing and write their names and have done so for months with incorrect letter formation. I feel those children should have been shown, sensitively and bit by bit, how to form letters correctly, to me that would have been the next step for those children. It is possible to do that making it fun, practising the gross movements first, playing games, using sand, water, paint etc. and using the interactive whiteboard. It's getting a balance isn't it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I completely agree Jacquie. As a teacher who teachers slightly older children (year one and previously reception) I know the complete nightmare of having children who have developed the habit of forming their letters incorrectly. I feel awful having to tell them that they must form them in a different way and getting them to form them correctly is them a long, arduous slog (from a teacher's point of view!) which I think can only be demoralising for the children no matter how sensitively I do it.

 

At some point there needs to be some sensitive teaching of letter formation once the children show interest in actually forming letters correctly. I have one child who writes both a and g as strange snail like swirls and another who writes y like a back to front lightning bolt among many others inconsistencies! It took me ages before I could even work out which letters they were trying to write and now it makes some of their words unreadable to anyone who doesn’t know their strange letter formations. Children are assessed on their ability to form letters correctly as part of the national curriculum assessments and they also need to do it in order to join up letters later on.

 

Undoing bad habits children develop because no one has scaffolded their letter formation efforts is a nightmare most teachers dread and is hard on the children as well. I’m sure no one would hesitate to scaffold a child to say number names in order once they were ready for this step so I don’t see why scaffolding letter formation when the child is such a huge no-no.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’m sure no one would hesitate to scaffold a child to say number names in order once they were ready for this step so I don’t see why scaffolding letter formation when the child is such a huge no-no.

I would imagine lack of confidence is a big part of this, and the fear of doing the wrong thing. The advice we receive in pre-schools is often confusing and contradictory. When I've mentioned it to the reception teacher in one of our feeder schools the only advice she gave was to make sure their pencil grip was effective. If your setting feeds to different schools (one of which teaches cursive handwriting from the off) this only adds a layer of complication into the mix.

 

Maz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As I said previously I do not regard this as an area of expertise but am I wrong in thinking we are talking about 3yr olds here - is the reason that there is a lack of training around letter formation because the majority of 3years olds will not be at this stage developmentally, it isn't appropriate to focus their mark making on correct letter formation?

I can understand you're point about the problems in undoing learnt habits and I can only draw on my knowledge as a parent when understanding the issues faced by reception and year one teachers but isn't the early years all about experimenting and being creative not 'getting it right'

maybe i do need more training in this area :o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes with young children it is the meaning ascribed to the marks that matters and the wish to have a go that is important. That needs to be got across to parents as well. There is a really good article on the home page about mark-making with young children, which might have some ideas that you can use to get this across to parents.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i recently went on a big talk course with Alistair bryce clegg it was fantastic - he made a joke that parents think children will die in the summer holidays if they do not know how to write their own name before reception!! He used to do a task with the parents, give them a word in chinese or a script they are unfamiliar with saying "ohh look at this lovely word, this is your name isn't it pretty". He then asked them to begin writing it with their less dominant hand, then stopped them as that was too easy and asked them to take off their shoe and sock, put the pencil between their toes and begin writing. Then stop them and tell them they have started at the wrong end. He then tells them that our muscles in our feet are by far more developed than children's muscles in their hands when they begin reception therefore it is much more difficult for them to write their name. It gives the parents a chance to view things from the child's point of view. We had to do it on the course and it was the hardest thing i'd ever done - never again will i force a child to practise writing their name until they are ready. We get around this by each child having stickers with their name on in their tray which they access independently and stick on paintings etc.

 

Good luck xx

Edited by Kat
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the main thing is to be developing the relevant movement through gross motor skills and fine motor skills. It's not about letters its about being able to create the the shapes and movements that build into letters. This will turn into using letters they are familiar with such as their names.

ie: Draw lines and circles using gross motor movements, Use one-handed tools and equipment, Manipulate objects with increasing control. Provide activities that give children the opportunity and motivation to practise manipulative skills, for example, cooking and playing instruments. Encourage children to make shapes like circles and zig-zags in the air and in their play, for example, with sand and water and brushes. Provide opportunities for large shoulder movements, for example, swirling ribbons in the air, batting balls suspended on rope and painting.

 

Cx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Catma - can I ask you (or anybody for that matter, but your response rang particularly true for me), I look after a child for one day a week and she spends four days in a reception class. I've worked tirelessly to get a statement of SEN for her, she needs additional support with all fine motor and gross motor aspects and my focus for her is on all those things you've mentioned. However Mum told me, proudly, today that they are helping her to write her name at school.I think she is no where near this stage yet - when given paper and pen she puts two to three strokes on and says "finished". I'm questioning that what I'm doing is enough but I don't feel like printing out sheets of paper for her to follow dotted lines is a good way to spend my time with her, especially as she needs support in all areas of her development, including social and communication. What do you think?

On a personal note, I think I'm also questioning my ability to 'teach' as my son, who is in year one, is falling behind his class because of his reading and writing, yet whilst he was in reception he was in the top groups and also an extension group because of his communication and thinking skills :o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi dcn - I think I might ask mum to share exactly what they are doing - copying isn't mark making!!! Does she recognise her name? would she know what she was copying?? Are you able to share your observations with the school she is in? If she is only going 4 days a week is this because of an agreed entry process?? It may just be mum trying to find things that she sees as "normal" if there are issues identified?

 

Re yr1 - the shift can be quite complex - do you know exactly which scale points your son got?? for example he might have got 6 in reading but not got point 6 which is about decoding skills so might then struggle if the yr1 teacher isn't looking at his exact skills set, rather than overall totals?

 

Just a thought.

Cx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We've been looking at this subject recently in the light of similar comments from parents and the usual beautifully written names in capitals etc. We looked at Penpals Foundation 1 and decided that gave us a good rationale for doing things the way we were doing; we'll be using the material selectively though. I'm fortunate to have a lead CLLD person who has QTS. We put together some staff in-house training around key vocabulary etc. We wrote to each feeder school asking their expectations upon school entry[at least 6 schools] just before Christmas so the letters would be there for January. We have had 1 reply to date and it was helpful. We would show prospective parents this letter if they were concerned about expectations at that school, to allay any fears. I do hope the others reply!

 

I don't if these ideas might help some; we often talk to the parents about children drawing their name rather than true handwriting, i.e. they are looking at what they see written and attempting to copy but without the correct letter formation of handwriting. It's probably not technically correct and we're not atempting to belittle children's mark making at all, but for some parents it does seem to help. Then when we say things like there are only 2 letters with a clockwise movement - p, b - everything else is anticlockwise so it's really important that the child can make both movements before worrying about writing those letters - we sometimes have a bit of a lightbulb moment

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi All,

 

I had a long hard day today and my brain just does not want to work at the moment!!!

I work in a pre-school and we have had some feedback from a survey we have just carried out. A lot of our parents have been asking when we are going to teach their children to write their names! Does anyone have a short reply I could perhaps use as a response as to why all the gross and fine motor skills etc. need to be developed before handwriting can be perfected.

 

Thank you all.

Scottiedog

 

Just to go back to the original query about what to say to parents.

 

I usually get this type of question when showing parents around before they enrol their child. I tell the parents that we make careful observations of each child's mark-making and will support the children to write their names when we have assessed that they are ready.

 

I also explain that if we push a child too soon, we could put them off writing altogether, I then go into a story about my own children where my son was put off writing due to the handwriting requirements in his school.

 

This isn't a short answer, I know, however I think just saying 'when we assess they are ready' should suffice.

 

I can't remember a parent who did not come back and enrol after I explained this.

Edited by millhill
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. (Privacy Policy)