Preschool and handwriting

Discussion in 'Early Childhood Education Archives' started by crayonmom, Sep 22, 2005.

  1. crayonmom

    crayonmom New Member

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    Sep 22, 2005

    Wow...what an awesome site! I'm thrilled to have found it.

    I am an elementary and early childhood teacher on hiatus to raise my kids. I've got a very specific question. I would like to have your opinions as Preschool Teachers please.

    Are handwriting worksheets developmentally appropriate for a 4 year old, 3x a week, half day preschool class? By handwriting worksheets I mean pages with six solid/dotted/solid lines (3/4 inch tall) that the children trace one letter in each row (3 capital, 3 lowercase) and then finish the entire row independently.

    Thank you in advance for your responses. I appreciate all the input.

    Kay
     
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  3. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Sep 22, 2005

    I am a Preschool Teacher and my opinion is that these types of worksheets may have their place, but I would not and DO not give them to the kids 3 days a week. Sometimes not even once a week.I don't like that style of teaching and for some children it is very frustrating. For example, I have a 4 year old this year who can read and write many words, so I challenge her a bit more than the others. I do the dotted lines for them to learn to write their names. I teach a letter a week and we spend time recognizing the letter in many ways, but we don't spend much time writing letters yet, except for their own names. Does that help?
     
  4. jcg

    jcg Cohort

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    Sep 22, 2005

    I do not think lines are developmentally appropriate for a 3-5 year old. I think they are experimenting with what they perceive as the world and should be allowed to develop at their own pace. You can teach them to write their name without giving them boundaries and they will get that soon enough. I believe children are forced to grow up to fast and to conform before they are ready!
     
  5. jcg

    jcg Cohort

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    Sep 22, 2005

    I forgot to say, I love your user name!
     
  6. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Sep 23, 2005

    I agree - lines and repeated tracing are not appropriate for this age group. In our county, we aren't even ALLOWED to use lines until mid-way through the K year, and that's only for specific children who have demonstrated readiness for lines. Actually, my program (4yo preK in a public elementary school) is basically a worksheet-free program. We try to limit their use as much as possible. I haven't used one at all yet this school year.
    Kim
     
  7. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Sep 23, 2005

    Use something like MagnaDoodles, finger writing in shaving cream or coolwhip on a flat surface, stick writing in the sand or dirt.

    WOrksheets may be inappropriate but around here they want Kindergarteners to write their name right off the bat. So where else are they going to learn how to write on paper?

    Lori
     
  8. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Sep 23, 2005

    I guess I'm going to be in a group all on my own and say YES, I believe they can be appropriate but you have to use them the correct way and not over use them. Practice makes perfect, and like Lori said, how are they going to learn how to write their names on paper if they can't practice. My 3 year old preschoolers know how to write their names and partly why is because we do lots of tracing. I don't limit it either though. We do wikki stix (which I recently found thanks to someone on this site-they are awesome), yarn letter formations, etc. I combine hands on creativity with tracing worksheets which I believe is the best way to get a child to learn. Just like some kids don't benefit from worksheets, others don't benefit from the other stuff as well because all kids are different. One of my kids doesn't like texture stuff, but she LOVES worksheets. Personally, I don't see the harm in it. My kids all like doing worksheets and why would I take something away they enjoy. They get excited and shout "I did it, I did it". I'm not taking that excitement away.

    Also, at this age when teachers are having the children do those, the teachers are not looking for perfection. I guarantee that none of my kids can write their names perfectly. They just want to expose them to it and get use to it. It's more about the process and practicing, not the initial outcome. I know it may look silly when you are given a worksheet and it looks totally opposite of what it should, but in time, you'll see the progression and it's so cool to compare the progress as time goes by. And when you show your child the progress, they get so proud of themselves.
     
  9. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    kindergarten teachers in this area told me to teach them to write their names on lined paper right from the start. I am slightly surprised at the difference in procedure throughout the country. I would expect it to be the same. There was a period of about one year during which our center was going through the accreditation process and the frowned on any "run-off sheet" of any kind. They pushed the hands on and creative approach. So, that is how I taught for the whole year and all I can say is, the kids didn't learn how to write or recognize their letters nearly as quick as when I started introducing tracing pages again and a few "run offs" now and then. Go figure.
     
  10. allisonbeth

    allisonbeth Comrade

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    Sep 24, 2005

    We do use hand writing sheets (about 1x per week) but only have them trace 3x and write independently 1x. They can always do more, if they want but no one is required to. We also put out white boards, etch-a-schetchs, ziplock "feel-y" bags, shaving cream, finger paint, etc. to practice.
     
  11. MR ARMS PKTEACH

    MR ARMS PKTEACH Rookie

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    Sep 24, 2005

    I refuse to do handwriting worksheets like that. At the beginning of the year I do give worksheets that involve tracing and drawing vertical, horizontal, zig zag, etc. lines. I do not give worksheets that involve tracing the letter. I do have them trace their name, I have this really neat program that I type in their name and it is dotted lines, and it shows where to start, etc. We do those twice a month. A LOT of my kids (4 year olds) can already write their letters. I think it is GREAT.
     
  12. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Many kids just love to trace letters so there is no harm in using the tracing sheets. In fact, it reinforces their letter recognition and enhances small motor skills. I have been using the name tracing sheets for years...the ones with the dotted lines that they trace. They are very useful. The key is to be balanced and to use the tried and true teaching methods, such as tracing pages.
     
  13. scarlet_begonia

    scarlet_begonia Comrade

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    Sep 24, 2005

    We are not even allowed to have lined paper in my district, even for play paper. But I think horizontal/vertical/curved line tracing sheets are fine once in awhile! I do think 3x a week is a bit much. And anyway, the kids love it!! (When I used to do it.)
     
  14. TeachWildThings

    TeachWildThings Comrade

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    Sep 25, 2005

    Also look at Handwriting Without Tears. They have an excellent program. The truth is some kids are ready to write AND many programs do make it mandatory for you to incorporate a handwriting program. That's why I like HWT because it keeps the developmental approach yet it satisfies many sites handwriting policies. It is interesting there is such a wide range. I wonder if this is district or State approaches? Now that could be a whole new thread!
     
  15. legar

    legar New Member

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    Sep 25, 2005

    I believe that children have a hard enough time manipulating their writing tool and concentrating on the outcome that confining them to lines is just giving them another challenge. They are not quite ready to take on this "challenge" because they are still working on their fine motor skills BUT writing strokes should be implemented. It's something like "free writing". In our classroom, once the child masters writing his/her name "freely" we move on to the lines. :)
     
  16. heart teacher

    heart teacher Rookie

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    Sep 25, 2005

    Each teacher has his/her own methods and techniques for teaching. Some schools/ curriculum requires us, as teachers, to teach a certain way and develop children on multiple levels! WHy don't you ask your child's teacher the point if you're that concerned?
     
  17. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Sep 25, 2005

    Who was the person who decided that worksheets were not appropriate to begin with anyways?! Honestly, who made up that rule that they were not appropriate? We used them when I was in school and I have to say that school was a lot more fun, less strict, and had less problem kids at that time. Things that are not broken don't need to be fixed. People are so hooked on the 'next new and hip concept' instead of being realistic. It's ridiculous. Like Jane has said in another thread, everything old is becoming new again. Why do we think that is?
     
  18. buterfly

    buterfly Companion

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    Sep 25, 2005

    Ok, I know that this may seem like a silly question, so please forgive me, as this is my first year teaching pre-K. I have a very broad group of children in regards to their age ranges. For some it is their first time being exposed to writing, for others, they will have the process of writing #'s. letters, etc. reinforced and more developed this year in time for them to go to kindergarten next year. ANYWAY, my question is this... shaving cream writing, whipped cream writing and all that other kind of writing; how do you go about doing it w/ the little ones? I've done it w/ my older kids and they love it, since they've already had experience w/ writing, I say a letter or # and they write it in the cream. For those little ones though, how should I go about doing it? For example, this week we are doing the letter F. Should I show them a big picutre of the letter and see if they can copy the image in the cream? I love the idea b/c the kids really get to feel the motion of making the letter, I'm just not sure how to go about starting the process.
    Thanks a bunch folks!!
     
  19. teacherece

    teacherece Cohort

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    Sep 25, 2005

    I would not use anything that is not developmentally appropriate for this age. Try checking into your states' Preschool teaching and learning standards as well as the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children).

    It is okay to let them explore letters, etc. and shaving cream or string is a good idea, but to have 3 year olds doing worksheets is not DAP (develop. appprop. pratice).
     

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