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Reception Name Writing


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Hi all,

I'm stressed at seeing my children who can't hold a pencil properly. Lots of children coming up from nursery have poor pencil control and can't even trace their names. Is anybody else having this kind of problem? Are your children writing their names yet and what kind of activities are you providing?

Flowerxxxxx

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I'm not a teacher so probably wont have much to contribute, but I do know my oldest son(16 now) could write his own christmas cards in reception, although each one took a good 15 minutes. Is there something that says how much a child should be able to write when they are 4 or 5? I see a whole range of developmental stages at nursery, some cant hold a pencil effectively while others can make recognisable marks. I have noticed, and I'm sure it's not just me, that more and more children arent experiencing the physical challenges that my lads had, swinging on the climbing frame, climbing trees, generally playing outside jumping, gambolling etc, weak or under-developed arm muscels can have an effect on writing skills, and the children who are cossetted and wont try because 'I cant do it' are the worst. Sorry, I knew I wouldnt be able to answer you. :)

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At this end of the school year and when children are starting reception at such early ages, I dont think this is unusual. Rea makes valid points about the childrens grss motor skills that are prerequisites for fine motor development which you can also develop in a variety of ways, including paper and pencil experiences!

Puzzles

construction

pegs and boards

washing pegs

sand tray

painting

dough

paper tearing

etc etc all provide opportunities for children to develop their pincer grip and dexterity.

 

At this stage it is also worth encouraging a correct grip and for adults to spend time at these activities with the children.

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In my current reception class there are six children still with fist grip, most of the class can make a reasonable attempt at writing their name either overwriting or copying from their name card, some can write their names unaided and one can write his name unaided using joined script............ so a huge range of abilities.

 

Holding a pencil puts a strain on the thumb and first two fingers of the writing hand so it is important that children are not asked to write for too long a time before the muscles of the hand are strong enough to cope or writing will be physically painful.

As Susan said children need lots of activities to strengthen the muscles and develop the skills needed for writing. There is an arguement that 'writing' should be left until children are older and physically able :o

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I agree with all comments, I too have a varied range of ability at preschool. I don't personaly use tracing paper for children to practice tracing their names, basically because they may 'learn' wrong letter formation and then have to 'unlearn' this at school.

 

I encourage children to 'write' their name on their art work etc, many will say "I can't" so I sound out the letters of their name, smiling away at any mark they make to represent each letter. You often see the child making the same marks each time he/she 'write' his/her name, their own signature so to speak :D Lots of praise when they attempt this type of mark making. We also give the reason, so that writing their name is for a purpose ie: so we know which home tray to put it in" etc.

 

Parents often worry that their child is not writing yet, my answer to them is two pronged

 

1/ if a child can scribe a line (vertical & horizontal) and a circle ( developing clockwork and anti clockwork movement) then in the future they will be able to form letters.

 

2/ Why would your child feel the need to write? Does your child see you writing, How often?

 

We had some lovely muscle building excersises today when we discovered a tyre attached to a branch (by chain) in our local park. :D We need to visit it more often though, only 2 children could pull themselves upright, or hold on for any real length of time :o . More tug of war, is also planned, a popular addition to our summer sports day. :D

 

Peggy

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When I did my NVQ3 a couple of years ago, my assessor told us that we were not allowed to teach children how to form letters, correct their pencil grip or use tracing paper at pre-school. Has anybody else heard this?

 

As Peggy said, we make encouraging noises of approval at their marks on paper and in our rising five group we try to encourage children to write their own names ready for school. We show correct letter formation if we think its appropriate and indeed suggest children might find it easier with a different grip.

 

Another good activity for developing muscles for writing - washing dolls clothes, squeezing out the water and of course pegging out the clothes.

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We have had the same this year about 3/4 of our class cannot hold a pencil, and have no concept of following lines/dots etc, I know we forget what children are like when they first come to school, but it does seem we are having more fine motor problems. But then again in the long run it can be easier this way as Peggy has said, the children have not learnt letter formation incorrectly and you are not strugglling to reteach the children.

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Last year I had a child with EAL who was 'taught', by his parents to write the whole alphabet in capital letters.

 

He showed me one day and he was so proud of his achievement but couldn't name or sound the letters and really didn't have any use for this 'skill' apart from being able to hold a pencil. However, he wouldn't paint or do any 'messy' play, played solo, was very dependent on adult company / appraisal. So, in the grand scheme of things.............out of all the developmental milestones for 4/5 yr olds, holding a pencil is not at the top of my priority list.

 

unfortunately 'academics' is still seen by many parents as the first thing to teach, it is one of the first questions they ask me about their childs development, "When will you teach him to write his name?" ........

 

maybe one day the emphasis will change.

 

Peggy

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When I did my NVQ3 a couple of years ago, my assessor told us that we were not allowed to teach children how to form letters, correct their pencil grip or use tracing paper at pre-school. Has anybody else heard this?

 

As Peggy said, we make encouraging noises of approval at their marks on paper and in our rising five group we try to encourage children to write their own names ready for school. We show correct letter formation if we think its appropriate and indeed suggest children might find it easier with a different grip.

 

Another good activity for developing muscles for writing - washing dolls clothes, squeezing out the water and of course pegging out the clothes.

 

We were told the same by our link teacher, We was told to let them have note books in many different areas for them to make their own marks in. We use shaving foam we we try to encourage the children to form some letters. At our playschool we have started to write the childs name in joined up form but un joined. As this is the way the school teach them to form the letters

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Hi all,

 

When my children leave the setting 70% of them can write a recognisable name with letters formed correctly.

 

We use highlighter pen.

Whenever they do a piece of work their name is written in the top left hand corner in highlighter. They are then encouraged to go over the letters and then write under. NOT MADE TO.

I have personally found this a good way to show them pencil control, what letters are, to visually see them, write over them to understand the letter shape and then to give them confidence to write there name. I don't have children saying ' I can't' because they have always written their name.

 

As they progress through pre school they end up in the 'pre school group' (4+). By this time they do no longer need highlighter pen and are writing their name freely. With a bit of guidance with letter forming, they can write there names.

 

This is all done very lighthearted and is part of the routine as much as register and snack time.

I know people have very different views on this, but all my children have the full range of free activities to help develop their fine and gross motor skills. This is just another way.

 

Net xx

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Many young children are not ready for the fine motor skills in gripping and controlling a pencil. This is evident in observing children holding pencils in a fist grip, or not being able to use enough pressure to make marks on paper. We encourage children to make marks using other media in large scale, rather than fine marks with a pencil. A favourite is to form letters, patterns, etc in shaving foam squirted onto a table top. Many children can write their name in foam with a finger, but cannot manage on paper. Of course if they think they have made a mistake or simply want to practise again, they can "rub it out" and try again. It takes the pressure off having a perfect end result.

Other ways to practise letter direction in large scale is using a stick or finger in a thin layer of sand or cous cous or flour on a tray. Painting on walls or the floor with large paint brushes dipped in water. We also have A4 size whiteboards and whiteboard markers which the children enjoy mark-making with. These are easier to use for the children who do not have the strength in their hands to use enough pressure with a pencil. Their efforts can be photocopied if you need evidence to keep or if the child wants to take a copy home. Pavement chalks on the floor or on large chalkboards or black paper, or simply large chunky felt tipped pens. And of course, the "magic finger" (air writing) is also popular.

All these methods allow children to practise the direction or pattern of letters, without having to use the fine motor skills that controlling a pencil requires.

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Last year I had a child with EAL who was 'taught', by his parents to write the whole alphabet in capital letters.

 

He showed me one day and he was so proud of his achievement but couldn't name or sound the letters and really didn't have any use for this 'skill' apart from being able to hold a pencil. However, he wouldn't paint or do any 'messy' play, played solo, was very dependent on adult company / appraisal. So, in the grand scheme of things.............out of all the developmental milestones for 4/5 yr olds, holding a pencil is not at the top of my priority list.

 

unfortunately 'academics' is still seen by many parents as the first thing to teach, it is one of the first questions they ask me about their childs development, "When will you teach him to write his name?" ........

 

maybe one day the emphasis will change.

 

Peggy

 

 

Sadly Peggy many of our children are 'taught' by parents or grandparents to write their names in capitals or even worse in a mixture of capitals and small letters. It can take the whole year to persaude them that isnt the way we write.

 

This year we are adopting a phonics for reading first approach lots of listening activities fine and gross motor activities emergent writing for a purpose before we contemplate correct letter formation

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I usually have the majority of my class joining unable to write their name and unable to hold a pencil with sufficient strength to make a mark. Because of this the school has worked towards building up gross motor control. Outside we have apparatus that builds up their upper body strength, monkey bars, hand over hand balancinbg, rope balances etc. A recent advisor told me that if a child cannot support their weight hanging onto a rope they are not ready to hold a pencil!!

We also spend the first 15-20 mins when the children come in doing fine motor activities, picking up pasta with tweezers for that pincer grip, threading, pegging pegs, cutting and over writing their names.

As a reception class in an Intensifying Support School their age related target is by the end of Reception they should be able to write their name with a capital letter at the beginning. I usually get about 80% doing it, purely practice makes perfect and doing it in a million different ways to make it more exciting!

Liz x

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Lots of very young children write using the whole of their upper body simply because they do not have the muscle development for writing (this is why so many complain of being tired or in pain). Thats why its just as important to develop gross motor skills for writing as it is to develop fine motor skills.

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At recent training we were also told about how the gross motor skills need to be in place first and are so very important , we were informed that unless a child can form large circles with thier arms from the shoulder both backwards and forwards then they are not ready to hold a pencil . (you know like a windmill!!)

 

Some of these children when they leave us are not even 4, and can still be in need of lots of support while others nearly 5, it is a large difference in development and skills.

 

 

Inge

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Just wondering how others are fitting in intros to phonics,etc and name-writing too, seem to be really juggling fitting everything in at the moment. Also can I just check if you use shaving foam does it have to be a certain type or can you use cheapest? Do you have to check for skin sensitivity? Can you change the colour by adding food colouring? Sorry for all the questions but I've always used coloured sand, sequins,etc and not foam...really fancy it!

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We always use tesco value, which is fab as marion said, it takes a few cans. We mix other things with it as well to achieve different textures as well as food colouring.

I did have one child who was very sensitive to everything but we used to put vinyl non powdered gloves, so he still got to play.

 

net xx

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