Early writing, also known as emergent writing, refers to the mechanics of children making physical marks, giving meaning to those marks, and the understanding of how written language really works. To help children develop their knowledge of the written word, parents can employ some must-try methods to encourage them to pick up early writing and meet literary milestones.
You may be surprised to learn that these methods do not necessarily require rote learning or even actual writing of letters or words. In fact, parents should focus on honing letter recognition and fine motor skills to help them on their journey towards early writing.
What are some challenges that parents face in getting their children to practice writing?
Some preschoolers struggle with writing because they have not yet developed the fine motor skills needed to grasp a writing implement and move it in the directions that they want. Some parents are unnecessarily concerned that their children are mirror writing - in other words, they tend to mix up their d’s and b’s, or flip their letters back to front. However, this is actually very developmentally normal, and parents do not need to unduly worry; in time they will get there. The most important thing is to make writing practice fun and engaging, rather than a chore or a point of contention.
Here are some must-try methods to get your child practicing their writing skills and getting ready to write.
Painting with brushes helps improve fine motor skills
If paint is too daunting for you at the thought of cleaning up, consider water brushes on reusable calligraphy paper, readily available in shops online. Water is much easier to clean up, and it gives children a chance to practice manipulating a writing instrument that does not require as much fine motor skills as a pen or pencil does. With brush painting, preschoolers can be easily nudged along to meet their literary milestones.
Finger painting is a fun way to encourage early writing
Finger painting is an excellent way for preschoolers to explore, learn and develop through sensory play. Feeling the cool, wet texture of the paints and experimenting with colour and patterns is a wonderful way to stretch their creativity. For younger children who have a tendency to put fingers in their mouths, plain yogurt mixed with drops of food colouring actually makes a great finger paint. Be sure to have children outdoors and in old clothes, as food colouring can stain.
Action songs can help with writing readiness
There are many fun action songs that preschoolers can sing, such as Incy Wincy Spider. These songs are more than just fun, though! There are many reasons why preschool teachers incorporate action songs into their classes. Not only do action songs encourage the development of hand-eye coordination, they also improve fine and gross motor skills. The children apply meaning to each action as it relates to the lyrics, which is similar to the idea of applying meaning to the written word.
Tracing helps to refine pre-writing skills
On the surface, tracing may seem simple to adults. However, tracing is valuable in helping preschoolers build up their writing skills by providing them with a template. Learning to follow a line helps them develop their understanding of how letters and numbers are formed, and helps them practice the refined and coordinated movements required for handwriting.
Creative writing in preschool in Singapore
The best preschools in Singapore understand how to encourage children to practice writing in a fun, engaging way. Through KiddiWinkie Schoolhouse programmes such as the Author’s Universe and Backpack Stories, your children have the chance to create their own stories and be taken on fun “travels” around the world.
Keen to find out more about our programmes and how we can support your child’s early writing journey? Book a tour with us at your preferred center to explore with us!
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