In this age of rapidly evolving technology, the way we communicate through writing has drastically changed. Despite the increased use of technology for communication, handwriting still stands as a critical skill in education and everyday life. Handwriting is a basic tool that is used in many subjects in school, and poor handwriting can have negative effects on early literacy and academic performance that can last into adulthood.
GBCA’s Head Start aims to prepare its students for life beyond the program through various activities that harness the skills they will need when transitioning into elementary school. All Head Start students, even the three-year-olds, “sign-in” at the beginning of the day and “sign-out” when they leave their classrooms at the end of the day. This exercise helps students to practice their writing skills, and as they grow throughout the year, see how much their handwriting has evolved.
Head Start knows that practice makes perfect, so students also engage in classroom activities that will help when they begin to refine their handwriting. These activities assist with letter recognition, fine motor skills such as being able to grasp a pencil, and making lines that will ultimately turn into writing individual letters. Read below for pre-writing activities recommended by GBCA’s Head Start staff:
1. Make lines and shapes by finger painting; you can use paint, shaving cream, yogurt, pudding – anything with a different texture!
2. Play shape and letter matching or recognition games; play with magnetic letters.
3. Play with puzzles of any variety – start with easy, non-interlocking board puzzles.