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Writing their name......


Wendy123
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I underwent some training this year on CL and part was about children writing their name. I was told that children should not attempt to write their name until they can recognize it.

 

Iam having trouble getting staff to understand this ( or maybe she is just being awkward).

 

She thinks they should start at 2 and a half to 3 but I am saying not until they can recognize it.....What does anyone else think???

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We have so many different approaches to educating children that it is hard to know what actually is the best way. i can understand that a child would benefit more from writing their name if they know what they are writing, but they need to physically be able to do it at the same time. So are trace sheets a good idea?

 

We used to use laminated sheets with their names printed on, in a nice dotted, child friendly font, and children would simply trace their name. We would start this as soon as possible to get their fine motor skills developed and and in the hope that they would recognise the letters at a later stage or possible already do!

 

I personally don't see why they can't try to make the shapes of the letters in their name in preparation for when they can finally recognise the letters?

 

1st step - encourage them to want to write anything (Self Confidence) 2nd Step - develop their gross motor skills, then fine motor skills in preparation (Moving and Handling) 3rd Step - Recongnising the letters and finally their full name (Understanding, Writing) and this would also involve Using Media and Materials!! Not a bad few months work!! :P

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I can understand the 'not writing their name until they can recognise it' because until it has that meaning it is a pattern. It's about making that link? That said, we do invite all children to write their name on their creations and always have pencils, crayons and chalks available. Of course this looks very different depending on development of child.

 

Once you start down the route of 'teaching' the writing of letters there is so much to think about - gross and the fine motor skills, pencil grip, correct letter formation. It's meant to be very difficult to 'unlearn'????

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Adding to the topic: Upper or lower case? As many children write their name before they know the sounds of all letters and some have irregular names (we've had a Paige), writing their name in upper case makes sense as it is easier to form the shapes of capitals. So the the combination of marks e.g. TOM or AMANDA will be 'theirs'. The purpose of this would not have anything directly to do with phonics or the correct formation of letters, which would be in lower case (print or cursive) and come later. I think it is of value to a child to feel like a 'writer' and to be able to write one's name on one's drawings. Apart from the value and meaning of the writing, I see the actual mark-making aspect of it being related to drawing a sun, a man or a triangle.

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Well isn't everything we learn in life just simply imitating or copying what we are shown? Even has we grow older we might decide to slightly adapt or change what we have already been shown but we still keep the basic principles. This is evident in the way we walk, talk or do anything throughout the world.. ie the language we use, or even the accent, or the symbol used for a letter "A" varies a lot from the UK to CHINA.. so isn't all writing originally just mark making even until a lot older than Pre-School!

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Writing starts at the shoulder,

I never used to think about the link before, but now you've mentioned it, I remember working with a child in primary school a few years ago, about the age of 10, writing was awful, he'd been for assessments galore and finally they settled on working on his gross motor skills, doing push ups etc to strengthen his arms, large circular movements etc. I'd forgotten all about it!

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Adding to the topic: Upper or lower case? As many children write their name before they know the sounds of all letters and some have irregular names (we've had a Paige), writing their name in upper case makes sense as it is easier to form the shapes of capitals. So the the combination of marks e.g. TOM or AMANDA will be 'theirs'. The purpose of this would not have anything directly to do with phonics or the correct formation of letters, which would be in lower case (print or cursive) and come later. I think it is of value to a child to feel like a 'writer' and to be able to write one's name on one's drawings. Apart from the value and meaning of the writing, I see the actual mark-making aspect of it being related to drawing a sun, a man or a triangle.

 

I'm sure I read somewhere that we (UK.....that said- it may have been European countries?)....are one of the only countries that start writing with lower case- due to the fact uppercase letters are easier to form, and easier to transition to lowercase.

 

I have also noticed in life quite a lot of people do seem to write in upper case - builders for one! :D

 

We have some sheets that have patterns on from years and years ago, which I was told contains all the lines/strokes/curves that are required to write efficiently . We do encourage are more able to access these from the mark-making trolley, they actually look like aboriginal folk art. We often give these out if parents start putting on the pressure for name-writing.

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One of my staff got told on a course a couple of years ago that you shouldn't get children to trace their name or follow dots you have made, as this is your writing, not theirs. They should learn by copying from a name card and form their own letters independently, with the accuracy of the letters improving as they gain more control/skill. (I have someone I really should send on the same course!) Having said that we have pattern cards, where they follow curves,zig zags, etc to help develop control.

A few years ago, we had several parents pushing for their children to be able to write properly before they started school (mainly boys) and did a big wall display explaining all the things they need to be able to do before they can write, and that finger control is one of the last areas to develop. In fact, I've got something similar up in our hallway at the moment focussing on the importance of gross motor skills to support writing.

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i think it depends on the child -they need lots of gross motor movement activities moving onto fine motor movement before that -google the building blocks of writing - might give you some ideas to talk about this.

Thanks for that and got it.

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I suppose that we allhave to follow what we believe is right. I think that a staff team willall have different believes on how and when this should be done but if a manager decides that the setting does it one way should the staff team do as the manager says??

 

Thanks for the debate everyone.

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We too have pattern and name cards etc and invite all the children to make their makes for their name. However some are obviously much more interested and ready for letter formation than others. So I think its best to follow the child's lead. We do a lot of work on initial sounds so a child who know that they might be for j for Jimmy and can recognise j will be supported to write the initial sound only at first that way they can write the first one or two letters of their name and experience success. I'm not a fan of tracing and think I'm in the recognise first camp.

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I used to work on the initial letter of their name, we did it in big writing first, painting on the path outside with water with big decorating paintbrushes, then getting smaller as they gained control. Loads of core strengthening things and shoulder exercises as they went along. I was quite happy to have paintings and pictures identified with just an initial letter - if there were several with the same letter, then I would make note myself. Once children feel they can do this independently, then I didn't like to intervene and write it for them. Of course I used to make notes and I would make sure they watched me writing their name on MY bits of paper etc, but if it was theirs, it was theirs from that point forwards. If they wanted help to write further, then of course, they got that, but the independent ones could be crushed by 'interference'. When they start writing their name, they very often go to a mirror writing phase, and I always told parents not to correct, as it was an important phase of brain development. It often happened when children started to do their name at the top right, instead of left, so by guiding the child's hand to the correct place, it generally sorted itself out.

This is when I feel sorry for children with long names, I had a Christopher many years ago, and by the time he had done his name, he was already itching to go away and do something else! That's when I learned that initial letters are much better until the child is ready to move on to the next letter and so on.

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I used to work on the initial letter of their name, we did it in big writing first, painting on the path outside with water with big decorating paintbrushes, then getting smaller as they gained control. Loads of core strengthening things and shoulder exercises as they went along. I was quite happy to have paintings and pictures identified with just an initial letter - if there were several with the same letter, then I would make note myself. Once children feel they can do this independently, then I didn't like to intervene and write it for them. Of course I used to make notes and I would make sure they watched me writing their name on MY bits of paper etc, but if it was theirs, it was theirs from that point forwards. If they wanted help to write further, then of course, they got that, but the independent ones could be crushed by 'interference'. When they start writing their name, they very often go to a mirror writing phase, and I always told parents not to correct, as it was an important phase of brain development. It often happened when children started to do their name at the top right, instead of left, so by guiding the child's hand to the correct place, it generally sorted itself out.

This is when I feel sorry for children with long names, I had a Christopher many years ago, and by the time he had done his name, he was already itching to go away and do something else! That's when I learned that initial letters are much better until the child is ready to move on to the next letter and so on.

Just what I did today Cait - loved it too it was with our little one with initials ZZ!

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And it's just reminded me how angry I felt behind parent's backs when they told children 'no that's wrong, do it right' when children were just wonderfully mark making their name freely on the registration board! They would furiously rub it out and say 'do it properly'. Seethe seethe!

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I had a Christopher many years ago, and by the time he had done his name, he was already itching to go away and do something else! That's when I learned that initial letters are much better until the child is ready to move on to the next letter and so on.

I too had a Christopher in Reception who hadn't yet developed his motor skills - the children were expected to do formal name practice, it was torture for him and me!

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We seem to have a few double barrel names at the moment with hyphen - forenames and surnames!! Also children where parents want us to use the 'proper' name when it's written eg name tags but call them by their nickname which bears no resemblence to their birth name. They don't make it easy!

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One of my staff got told on a course a couple of years ago that you shouldn't get children to trace their name or follow dots you have made, as this is your writing, not theirs. They should learn by copying from a name card and form their own letters independently, with the accuracy of the letters improving as they gain more control/skill. (I have someone I really should send on the same course!) Having said that we have pattern cards, where they follow curves,zig zags, etc to help develop control.

A few years ago, we had several parents pushing for their children to be able to write properly before they started school (mainly boys) and did a big wall display explaining all the things they need to be able to do before they can write, and that finger control is one of the last areas to develop. In fact, I've got something similar up in our hallway at the moment focussing on the importance of gross motor skills to support writing.

hi there,

 

would you happen to have a picture of that informative display you have up?

 

thanks

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