"In this classroom, relationships are fostered, families are respected, and children are honored.
In this classroom, nature's gifts are valued and children's thoughts are captured.
In this classroom, learning is alive and aesthetic beauty is appreciated." -Unknown

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Ready for Kindergarten: Name Writing


Each year I give the parents a questionnaire asking several questions about their child, family, pets, etc. I also ask if they have any concerns and goals for their child. Many times parents list that they'd like their child to be able to write their own name. This is only one of the many things that is a progressive skill that develops over time, yet one that I often see as a goal of the parents.

I was very excited when I was given the opportunity to participate in Deborah from Teach Preschool's blogger book study reviewing her new book, Ready for Kindergarten! After I read her book, I was ecstatic that FINALLY a book about kindergarten prep had been written that was totally developmentally appropriate and covered such a huge myriad of skills in a very easy to read and able to implement format. I also knew that I wanted to share some of my experience with children and writing their names, which is covered in Chapter 12 of the book.

Photo courtesy of Deborah Stewart, Teach Preschool

Note: I received a complimentary copy of Ready for Kindergarten in
exchange for participating in a blog book study. All opinions and
beliefs expressed in this post are my own.
 

What many parents don't realize is that preparing for writing one's name is a developmental skill that begins long before a child picks up a writing utensil. Play is the key! When children play with blocks, play Bingo/Lotto games, manipulate small items, and play with droppers/pipettes they are preparing for writing.


Some other great fine motor activities include: playing with Bristle blocks, using tweezers, sewing, and manipulating chopsticks.



Even more practice can take place with beading, connecting small pieces like with the Cootie game, painting at the easel, and lacing cards.


We definitely don't want to forget activities such as torn paper art where the child picks up and manipulates small pieces of paper and play dough. All of these activities build up the little muscles that will be needed to write.


Once your child shows an interest in writing implements, it's the perfect opportunity to make sure they have lots of writing utensils available such as: chalk with chalkboards and sidewalk chalk. You can provide pencils and pads of paper for your child to pretend they are writing down an order in a restaurant dramatic play scenario or pretending to work in a post office provides instances of writing exploration. 


Setting up a Writing Area will provide your child with many writing utensils, such as: pencils of varying sizes, thin colored pencils, thick colored pencils, thin crayons, thick crayons, thin markers, thick markers, chalk, and dry erase markers. Having a variety of types of papers will provide different textures, colors, and experiences. You can also incorporate chalk boards, magnetic letters, sandpaper letters, tracing cards, stencils, and Boggle Jr. Having cards with familiar words and your child's name are also useful. If you work in a classroom setting, providing the names of all the children in the classroom will provide exploration in writing other's names.


Children enjoy seeing their name throughout their environment and get excited to try to write their name themselves. In my classroom, children find their name in numerous sites, including: our Owl Chart (attendance), name cards, job cards, on the ABC wall, on their sign-in folder, on their sign-in sheets, and in the writing area.

We have a routine when the child arrive daily. They place their jacket/backpack in their cubby, wash their hands, turn over their Owl card (to show they are present), and then they sign-in for the day.


Our three year-olds have a sign-in sheet like this one. Their name is printed at the top and they are encouraged to "write" their name. I tell the parents that the goal at this age if for them to feel good about having a pencil in their hands. It doesn't matter if it looks like "chicken scratch". The end product isn't the point, it's the process.


The sign-in sheet for the older children looks like the one pictured above. The children may trace their name on the left and attempt writing it on the right. We aren't super emphasizing the letter formation specifically, but when the child becomes interested the numbers and arrows can serve as a guide for them. At any point, whether three or four or even five, if a child is upset or distraught over the process, the parents are told to not worry about the task. It's meant to be enjoyable. If it isn't being that way, don't do it.


Before you know it, the children are writing all over the place: in the writing area, on the playground blacktop, in dramatic play, in the block area, and signing their name to their artwork. If a child completes artwork, but isn't able or interested in writing their name yet, we will write their name for them. As we write it we state the letters, so the child becomes familiar with the letters in their name.

Learning to write his or her own name is quite an accomplishment and one to be celebrated, but we must also remember to celebrate all the accomplishments along the way. It's vital to provide small challenges to a child, while not overwhelming him or her.






17 comments:

  1. This is a great review and tie in to how important it is to help children learn to associate the letters of their names together and how they can learn that skill while having fun too!

    Thank you for linking up this week to the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop! I do hope that you will visit my neck of the magical woods every week and take a quick rest by the tree on the tree stump while you read everyone’s blog posts that they have so thoughtfully shared with all of us.

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    1. Thanks so much. It's a skill that is important, but only when the child is developmentally ready and it should always be fun.

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  2. I love how you've listed so many ways to prepare a child for writing, and that you've emphasized the importance of play in doing so, Barbara. I think your sign in sheets are a wonderful idea, and I really like that even the youngest are encouraged to make their mark when they arrive. Thanks so much for sharing your post with us today. I'll be pinning it!

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    1. Thanks, Jackie. It's sad that many parents automatically expect their child to be able to write his or her name without realizing that there are lots of things they can do to help prepare them.

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  3. What a fantastic post. We need to practise this more. Yes he loves seeing his name - we even wrote it on a cake for him.
    Thank you for sharing with MotivationalMonday

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    1. So glad you enjoyed it. Happy name writing.

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  4. Creative post for kids. I like the way of your teaching..:) Thanks for the posting.

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    1. Thank you! We have to be creative and make it fun for the kids or they won't be as engaged. They're pretty smart!

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    2. LOL yes children are very smart now a days!!

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  5. Love this post! We are working on name writing here too. Thank you for sharing at our Pinning for Play link party!

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    1. Thanks, Lauren! Thanks for providing a forum for sharing!

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  6. Some great ideas!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Carrie. Thanks for providing a sharing forum.

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  7. What a great list of ideas! Definitely things to try with my three year old. Thank you!

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    1. Glad this gave you some inspiration. I believe the key is making it fun.

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  8. love your post ..very easy way to develop artistic
    quality in children ..way of teaching also impressive
    child care services

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