You are your kid’s parent. Moreover, you are their first teacher responsible for their preschool education. This is your task to measure your kid’s development in all areas, not their height, weight and general growth only.
Yes, you are ready for this. But do you know what basic writing and learning skills your kid should master at ages 3 or 4 for example? What preschool skills are age-appropriate for them to get?
Preschool years are very important for basic educational skills development. Your goal is to help your child understand how writing works and how it is connected to reading; you should encourage your kid to begin writing, to hold a pen or pencil right, developing their motor skills, to express information through letters and symbols by copying or drawing them.
How to understand what exact writing skills your kid should be mastering now? Answer the following questions, noting how your kid is doing in each area:
- Does my child express ideas through pictures?
- Does my child use different pencils or markers for writing or drawing pictures?
- Can my child draw or copy simple symbols, circles and lines?
- Does my child try to write letters, his/her first name for example?
Now, when you know what pre-writing or writing skills your child should be learning, you can use many techniques to support their development and encourage your kid to start writing. Sure, they can hardly teach how to write a good hook for your essay, but they will definitely help your child develop all basic writing skills needed for successful preschool education. These techniques include but are not limited to:
- Drawing: first of all, you should learn your kid to hold a pencil right. Motor skills should be developed for that, and your kid can improve them with the help of different exercises such as painting, coloring in, picking up some objects with tweezers, etc.).
- Dot to Dots: these exercises help your kid learn how to write objects correctly; plus, it will develop their motor skills which are so important for proper writing at school.
- Pattern writing: your child will practice it through tracing and copying, and such exercises will give the ability to write all numbers and letters correctly.
- Colouring in.
- Tracing shapes and patterns.
- Copying lines.
How to use all these basic techniques and what activities to try with your child for their development? Try the following ones:
- Tell your kid how drawings can express their ideas, and encourage them to tell some stories with the help of pictures.
- Encourage your kid to use different tools for drawings: pencils, crayons, washable markers, chalk… Organize all these materials for drawing and let your kid have access to them.
- Help your kid understand that words (written ones) are a part of his/her daily life: lists, billboards, emails, signs in the streets – writing surrounds us everywhere.
- Help your kid draw lines gradually: straight -> zigzag -> curved -> diagonal -> circle.
- Make some dot-to-dot outlines of letters. Use the letters of your kid’s name first of all, tell him/her that you teach them to print their name. It sounds cool for a preschooler, and it will motivate your child to learn other letters writing.
- Teach your kid to read the letters they’ve learned, especially the letters of their name.
- Try rainbow writing.
- Use different handwriting worksheets for preschoolers.
- Different handwriting templates will also help your kids draw, copy or trace objects, letters and numbers, and develop their motor skills.
- Teach coloring to your kid: scribbling first -> vertical line -> horizontal strokes -> circular motions -> copying.
Remember, that not all kids are the same, and not all of them learn at the same pace; so, do not panic if your preschooler has some below-average writing skills for his/her age group. However, you should pay attention and start seeking for some help if:
- your kid does not like and try to avoid writing;
- your child is late in learning;
- it is very difficult for your kid to remember the shapes of numbers and letters;
- your child continues drawing symbols, numbers and letters incorrectly even after your constant explanations.
You can always discuss all concerns with your kid’s pediatrician or preschool teacher. Make sure that your kid’s vision and hearing are fine; contact your local school district and ask for a diagnostic screening if you worry that something is wrong with your child’s physical development.