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Hi I was just wondering do any of you in preschool do highlighter names and let the children trace over them. I know we are not allowed to do dots anymore. My EYA said we can not sit them down and make them write their names and we can't sit and let them recognise shapes or numbers. She said that they do not know what they are recognising. I know the EYFS is learning through play. But when you have parents asking why we don't do this it is very hard. How do you get children to recognise letters, shapes and numbers. Dorinda

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Well for instance today, we had glitter in trays for the children to make marks in and one of our new entrant 2 and half year olds, said "Curly 'cuh' for Caitlin", so I modelled how to write a curly 'cuh', but I wouldn't have expected her to copy it, or write it in anyway for herself. We make letters of their names out of dough or other 'mucky media'. They see their names on name cards at least twice in the session and pick them out from all of the names on display. Some of our rising 5's are very interested in writing their names and so we let them obviously put their names on their paintings or have a go at labelling their models.


As for shapes, we play all kinds of shape games as a whole group, and small groups and individuals, these may be commercially available games or something we have made ourselves, we mention what the shape is called, we mention or ask for any offers on how many sides, straights, curves etc. even we we are making the train track, that's a good time to look at shapes.


What we don't do is sit children at tables with paper and pencil and trace letters or numbers or shapes. We do have their names printed in outline form from the computer and laminated, so if they want they could use a felt tip to write inside the outline, then with a tissue rub it off again and have another go, but only a few of the older children show interest in those.


We go along with their interest in what happens in the moment and that may be very fleeting indeed, but it is the drip, drip drip effect, if they notice a shape, or name it, we would say, yes it's a star - and follow up with, shall we count how many points it has - they may answer no, but it is my experience they quite often are receptive to that question. To be honest, you could take months trying to teach them something - to what point? When they are really really ready and receptive they will pick it up in a very short space of time but in the mean time their learning should be fun. Nowhere in the EYFS documents does it say we should bore the children to death :o

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my children love playing a shape game outdoors - we chalk shapes on different patio slabs, play music and when it stops I hold up a shape and say "all jump in the circle"

I think at this stage its about children seeing print and numerals everywhere in their environment aswell as pointing out letters/shapes and numbers in stories, puzzles and during play. I write letters on pebbles and hide them in the sand pit - some children may like to get their name cards and try to match them to their names. They have name cards on pegs, snack table and drinks cups which all help to recognise their names and names of their friends and I think this is adequate for the age range.

As for writing - your initial query - if you place name cards next to trays of foam/glitter/sand/water and brushes etc the children that are ready will be attempting to write letters of their name

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I love this quote from your post Panders:


Nowhere in the EYFS documents does it say we should bore the children to death



Me too! xD Go Panders! :o


There are so many ways of helping children to learn to recognise their names, shapes and numbers......


Our children self-register, they also see their names written on their art 'work', most of our rising fives are very keen to write their own name and when they reach this stage we give them every encouragement.........


One of our favourite 'shape activities' is our 'shape mat' that we use with our 'bee-bot' all great fun, we also have a set of shapes for our light station, numerous 'shape stackers', 'shape sorters', shape puzzles'........


We have a super set of the 'sparkly, squidgy numbers', again lots of number games and puzzles, a 'washing line' with pegs and numbers that children can 'move around', will confess that we do have some number stencils but children access these as and when they want to! Super large calculators available too!


Oh half-term brain has set in! - Forgot to mention books and stories - my favourite way to 'teach' anything and everything!!!

Edited by sunnyday
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When my class first started in September they would self register by moving their names into the postbox on the IWB. When they were confident with recognising their names I laminated name cards for them which they write on with pen each morning and post into a postbox. They enjoy doing this and are very proud to post their names. After half term I will introduce a signing in book for them to write in when they arrive in the morning. I used this last year and the children responded well to it. Just one way of encouraging them to write their names.


We also explore mark making in various materials such as gloop and coloured sand. Many of my children enjoy having whiteboards out with pens, I think they like this as they can just wipe it away and experiment. I put letter formation cards on the table so if they want to use these they can, many do.



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