Building Preschool Writing Skills, the Montessori Way
Many parents don’t know where to start when it comes to the education of their pre-school aged children. Learning early writing skills is often not at the top of the list of things to teach, but is a fundamental skill that is best started early. Montessori educators are great at helping children be their best, no matter what the topic at hand. When it comes to early writing skills, the Montessori Method offers wonderful insight for forming this critical skill.
Tips from Montessori Educators
Montessori style education makes incredible academic achievement possible. Our methods are proven effective through research and results. If you want to teach your toddler to write, the Montessori classroom has much to offer.
A Pencil is Not the Only Tool
Holding a pencil and trying to write can be tiring for 2-4 year olds. This can lead to frustration and lack of belief in oneself. Montessori educators use a variety of tools such as building blocks, play dough, pegs, and tweezers to help strengthen hands and make writing easier. Teaching proper table posture is also recommended as poor posture can make sitting and writing uncomfortable and add to the frustration. Hand-eye coordination is also a must for early writing skills. Catching a ball and popping bubbles are good exercises to try. The ability to use a hair and tooth brush as well as their spoon and fork fine tunes these motor skills while promoting independence.
Often times parents of small children fall into the habit of doing everything for their child. Zipping pants, buttoning shirts, putting away toys, and so on can inhibit fine motor skill development. This is not to say that your child doesn’t need help from time to time, but allowing your child space to do more for themselves has both physical and emotional benefit. The Montessori method of education is centered on teaching children independence and a “can do” attitude. When learning to write, your child’s teacher will encourage them to do their best while offering guidance and support.
Start Simple by Tracing Lines
Montessori teachers will help you child learn at a pace that works for them. Often times, showing a toddler an image of a letter and asking him or her to replicate it can be overwhelming. The Montessori method for pre-school writing begins with tracing exercises. This can be viewed as a game, and quickly develop the motor skills needed to hold and use a pencil correctly. To try this at home, start out with straight lines allowing the child to observe you tracing the line first. Encourage proper pencil holding technique through example and manipulation of the fingers on the pencil.
Get a Little More Complex
Once a child can trace a straight line with ease, the Montessori teacher will encourage more complex pre-writing activities while continuing to instill proper pencil holding. Squiggly lines, Xs’, circles, and squares are much more difficult and may require a bit more encouragement.
Brain development is at its most rapid before the age of five. An early start can give your child an edge on academic success. If you find yourself asking where to start, Montessori style early learning is the best way to go for both parents and educators.