It sums up so beautifully what can occur in pre-school to develop handwriting.
A visit to this site would be well worth it. Such fantastic ideas.
What makes up Pre-Writing Skills?
Can you believe that all of these areas are being addressed through play in the early childhood development stages? And that all of these areas are building and developing with a resulting use in handwriting? Amazing, right?
The relationship that we have with our children is the single biggest influence on them. Our relationship sets an example for how relationships should be throughout the rest of their lives. If we have a healthy relationship based on respect, empathy, and compassion, we have set a standard. They will grow to expect that this is what a relationship looks like and will likely not settle for less. If, however, our relationship is based on control, coercion, and manipulation, well you see where I’m going with this.
In addition to that, our influence comes from a good relationship. Children are more likely to listen to and cooperate with an adult who they are connected to. In other words, if we build trust and open communication when they are small, they will come to us when they are not so small. Our attachment helps wire healthy brains, and our responses set the tone for how they respond to us (they’re little mirrors).
2. Your lens
When you look at your child, who do you see? Do you see the positives or the negatives? The way you think about them influences the way you treat them. Your thoughts also influence the way you feel emotionally and physically throughout the day. “He is in the terrible twos” will cause you to look for terrible things, to focus on them, and therefore try to correct them…constantly. Try to turn negative thoughts like this into positive thoughts, like, “He is inquisitive and fun!” Try to start seeing misbehavior as a clue that calls for help rather than something that needs squashed immediately. Correction is not needed nearly as often as you might think.
Also watch your tone and language. Lori Petro of TEACH Through Love says, “Be mindful of the language you use to describe your children. They will come to see themselves through that filter you design.” Be careful not to place labels such as “naughty” or “clumsy” on your child. They will come to see themselves the way you see them.
3. Your relationship with your significant other
Your kids are watching and learning. The way you and your partner treat each other again sets a standard. Happy parents make happy kids. Read How Your Marriage Affects Your Kids— “The foundation of a happy family is a strong, loving relationship between the two of you. The single, most important thing that you can do for your children is to do everything in your power to have the best possible relationship with your spouse. If they see the two of you getting along and supporting each other, they will mirror you and will likely get along with each other and their friends. Every single ounce of energy that you put into your relationship will come back to you tenfold through your children.”
4. The atmosphere of your home
All of the things mentioned above come together to create the atmosphere in your home. If you have loving and connected relationships, you likely have a warm atmosphere in your home. If there is discord between you and your spouse, or you and your child, or your child and your other child, then the overall atmosphere will suffer. Have you ever gone to someone’s home and could just feel a negative atmosphere? You want your home to be a haven, a safe, warm, inviting, and loving place for all family members. Dorothy Parker said, “The best way to keep children home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant—and let the air out of the tires.” You don’t have to let the air out until they’re 16 though. 😉
5. How you relate to others
How do you treat the bank teller, the store clerk, the telemarketer? What about your parents and your in-laws? They are watching your example. Albert Einstein once said, “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.”
Are you involved in your community? Aside from setting an example, there are valuable lessons to be learned from volunteering, supporting a local cause, attending church, or donating items. Seeing a bigger picture, how their acts can influence many lives, will give them a sense of responsibility and reinforce good values.
Whether you choose private school, public school, homeschooling, or unschooling, your choice will have an impact on your child. Choose with care. Peers have a big influence on children, but if our relationship is where it should be, our influence will still be stronger.
8. Your cup
How full is it? You have to take care of you so you can take care of them. If your cup is full, you are more patient, more empathetic, and have more energy. Not only that, but a child who sees his parents respect themselves learns to have self-respect. Put yourself back on your list.
9. Media. Television. Video games. Social media.
They are always sending messages to your kids. Now, I let my kids watch TV and play computer games, so I’m not taking a big anti-media stance here, but just be aware of what your kids are getting from what they’re watching. My son said something out of character for him a while back that came directly from a cartoon character. I knew where he’d gotten it and we had a talk about the differences between cartoon land and the real world. I’m just glad they don’t have a Facebook account yet!
“If I had my child to raise all over again, I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later. I’d finger-paint more, and point the finger less. I would do less correcting and more connecting. I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes. I’d take more hikes and fly more kites. I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play. I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars. I’d do more hugging and less tugging.”
So many parents have concerns regarding their children’s performance in maths.
A great article from the “Raising Children Network” helps identify areas that your child may be struggling with.
The article also emphasises how to connect learning maths with school and home.
Don’t hesitate to ask your child’s teacher for advice or seek help from a tutor.
“Concerns about your school-age child’s maths learning
It can take time for children to develop the confidence and understanding to handle maths problems. But if your child has been struggling for several months, even with one-to-one help, it might be a sign that your child needs extra support with learning maths.
If you notice any of the following signs by the time your child has entered Years 3 and 4, it might be a good idea to talk with your child’s teacher.
Numbers and counting
Your child has trouble:
naming numbers quickly and correctly
counting in order
using memory strategies to remember basic number facts – for example, your child still uses her fingers to count instead of knowing that 5 + 5 = 10 or 3 x 4 = 12.
Quantity, size and order
Your child has trouble:
understanding relationships between numbers – for example, greater than, less than, difference between, equal to and so on
knowing how many objects are in a small group without counting them – for example, your child needs to count four toy cars on the floor or five dots on dice.
Your child has trouble:
linking maths symbols to objects – for example, your child doesn’t understand that the number 3 is the same as three marbles in a group
telling basic time – for example, your child doesn’t recognise 1 pm on a clock.
Symbols and rules
Your child has trouble:
knowing the difference between maths symbols and signs – for example, your child forgets the difference between +, -, x and =
learning multiplication tables, rules and formulas.
Your child has trouble:
copying a repeating pattern of five things – for example, beads or blocks
explaining how a simple pattern is formed or organised.
These difficulties can affect your child’s motivation and confidence with learning, and stop him from taking part in and enjoying maths activities with his peers.
Your child’s teacher might recommend a range of supports, including assessment by an educational psychologist. This is often the first step towards getting the right support for your child.
Your feelings about maths influence how your child thinks about maths and about herself as a mathematician. Even if you’ve grown up thinking that you’re not very good at maths, you can show your child that you have a positive attitude to maths. This is important for her success at school.
How children learn maths at school
Mathematics is one of the key learning areas in the curriculum at school. Children will probably spend a minimum of five hours each week formally learning mathematical concepts.
Maths today is about understanding number patterns, not just memorising information. Maths education in the early school years focuses on:
linking numbers with quantity, size and order
learning maths language
showing numbers in different ways – for example, as numerals, groups of objects, dots on dice and so on.
Your child will look at things like numbers, money, patterns, measurements, shapes and fractions.
In the classroom, your child will learn maths in lots of different ways – through watching the teacher work out maths problems, doing problems, talking about problems, drawing and writing, playing games, and using calculators, computers and other materials.
Your child will also develop numeracy at school as he learns how maths skills are important in everyday experiences. For example, the concepts of first, second, third and place order will come up when your child takes part in school athletics – or even just lining up for class.
As your child moves through primary school, teachers will give her opportunities to use maths knowledge and skills in other subject areas – for example, she learns about volume when she measures ingredients for a recipe. This helps your child see that maths is connected to all parts of life and it further encourages her numeracy development.”
The tips below highlight ways that you can help your child learn early math skills by building on their natural curiosity and having fun together. (Note: Most of these tips are designed for older children—ages 2–3. Younger children can be exposed to stories and songs using repetition, rhymes and numbers.)
Play with shape-sorters. Talk with your child about each shape—count the sides, describe the colors. Make your own shapes by cutting large shapes out of colored construction paper. Ask your child to “hop on the circle” or “jump on the red shape.”
Count and sort.
Gather together a basket of small toys, shells, pebbles or buttons. Count them with your child. Sort them based on size, color, or what they do (i.e., all the cars in one pile, all the animals in another).
Place the call.
With your 3-year-old, begin teaching her the address and phone number of your home. Talk with your child about how each house has a number, and how their house or apartment is one of a series, each with its own number.
What size is it?
Notice the sizes of objects in the world around you: That pink pocketbook is the biggest. The blue pocketbook is the smallest. Ask your child to think about his own size relative to other objects (“Do you fit under the table? Under the chair?”).
You’re cookin’ now!
Even young children can help fill, stir, and pour. Through these activities, children learn, quite naturally, to count, measure, add, and estimate.
Walk it off.
Taking a walk gives children many opportunities to compare (which stone is bigger?), assess (how many acorns did we find?), note similarities and differences (does the duck have fur like the bunny does?) and categorize (see if you can find some red leaves). You can also talk about size (by taking big and little steps), estimate distance (is the park close to our house or far away?), and practice counting (let’s count how many steps until we get to the corner).
Use an hourglass, stopwatch, or timer to time short (1–3 minute) activities. This helps children develop a sense of time and to understand that some things take longer than others.
Point out the different shapes and colors you see during the day. On a walk, you may see a triangle-shaped sign that’s yellow. Inside a store you may see a rectangle-shaped sign that’s red.
Read and sing your numbers.
Sing songs that rhyme, repeat, or have numbers in them. Songs reinforce patterns (which is a math skill as well). They also are fun ways to practice language and foster social skills like cooperation.
Use a calendar to talk about the date, the day of the week, and the weather. Calendars reinforce counting, sequences, and patterns. Build logical thinking skills by talking about cold weather and asking your child: What do we wear when it’s cold? This encourages your child to make the link between cold weather and warm clothing.
Pass it around.
Ask for your child’s help in distributing items like snacks or in laying napkins out on the dinner table. Help him give one cracker to each child. This helps children understand one-to-one correspondence. When you are distributing items, emphasize the number concept: “One for you, one for me, one for Daddy.” Or, “We are putting on our shoes: One, two.”
Big on blocks.
Give your child the chance to play with wooden blocks, plastic interlocking blocks, empty boxes, milk cartons, etc. Stacking and manipulating these toys help children learn about shapes and the relationships between shapes (e.g., two triangles make a square). Nesting boxes and cups for younger children help them understand the relationship between different sized objects.
Open a large cardboard box at each end to turn it into a tunnel. This helps children understand where their body is in space and in relation to other objects.
The long and the short of it.
Cut a few (3–5) pieces of ribbon, yarn or paper in different lengths. Talk about ideas like long and short. With your child, put in order of longest to shortest.
Learn through touch.
Cut shapes—circle, square, triangle—out of sturdy cardboard. Let your child touch the shape with her eyes open and then closed.
Have fun with patterns by letting children arrange dry macaroni, chunky beads, different types of dry cereal, or pieces of paper in different patterns or designs. Supervise your child carefully during this activity to prevent choking, and put away all items when you are done.
Make household jobs fun. As you sort the laundry, ask your child to make a pile of shirts and a pile of socks. Ask him which pile is the bigger (estimation). Together, count how many shirts. See if he can make pairs of socks: Can you take two socks out and put them in their own pile? (Don’t worry if they don’t match! This activity is more about counting than matching.)
As your child plays, make comparisons based on height (high/low), position (over/under), or size (big/little).
Dress for math success.
Ask your child to pick out a shirt for the day. Ask: What color is your shirt? Yes, yellow. Can you find something in your room that is also yellow? As your child nears three and beyond, notice patterns in his clothing—like stripes, colors, shapes, or pictures: I see a pattern on your shirt. There are stripes that go red, blue, red, blue. Or, Your shirt is covered with ponies—a big pony next to a little pony, all over your shirt!
As your child nears three and beyond, make a chart where your child can put a sticker each time it rains or each time it is sunny. At the end of a week, you can estimate together which column has more or less stickers, and count how many to be sure.
Bowman, B.T., Donovan, M.S., & Burns, M.S., (Eds.). (2001). Eager to learn: Educating our preschoolers. Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences.
Diezmann, C., & Yelland, N. J. (2000). Developing mathematical literacy in the early childhood years. In Yelland, N.J. (Ed.), Promoting meaningful learning: Innovations in educating early childhood professionals. (pp.47–58). Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Fromboluti, C. S., & Rinck, N. (1999 June). Early childhood: Where learning begins. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, National Institute on Early Childhood Development and Education. Retrieved on September 22, 2008 from http://www.kidsource.com/education/math/whatis.html
Amanda Mergler does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.
Many parents worry about when is the right time for their child to start school. While some use their child’s individual characteristics to judge school readiness, others have philosophical beliefs that lead them to delay their child’s school entry.
In Australia, a child is considered to be ready for formal schooling around the age of five, although legally a child is not required to start school until they are six years old.
Although school starting ages still differ between the states and territories, most children begin school between 4.5 and 5.5 years of age.
Using age as a basis for determining whether children are ready for school is problematic given the developmental variability in young children of the same age.
Parents choose to delay their child’s entry to school for a variety of reasons but most make their decision in the belief that it will benefit their child. However, the research evidence is still relatively mixed.
Which children are most likely to start school late?
Many parents, both in Australia and internationally, make the decision to voluntarily delay their child’s entry into formal schooling until they are six.
Danish enrolment statistics indicate that gender plays a role, with parents choosing to delay school entry of one in five boys and one in ten girls.
Research suggests that children are most likely to be delayed if their birthday falls three to four months before the age cut-off, and that those delayed are most likely to be white, male and from families of higher socio-economic status.
One reason for why children from wealthier families are more likely to be delayed is that the decision to delay often means children spend an extra year in daycare.
This extra year comes with a financial cost, which families with higher incomes are more able to absorb.
For families with less financial means, ending daycare costs by sending a child on to public schooling as soon as they are of age may be a financial necessity.
Some studies have suggested that delayed children score higher in reading and mathematics than children who began school on time, but others have found no differences in achievement between those children who started school on time and those who were delayed.
Starting later gives more time for children to mature
There is also evidence that the youngest children in the first year of school are at an increased risk of behavioural problems and poor academic achievement.
A later school starting age may benefit these children by allowing greater time for maturation, which leads to increased self-regulation and decreased inattention or hyperactivity.
A 2015 report by the Early Childhood Teachers’ Association (ECTA) revealed that 60% of teachers surveyed believed children shouldn’t start school before the age of five.
The most common reasons for this given by prep teachers were that children should be able to concentrate for up to 20 minutes, play and share with others and eat lunch independently before coming to school.
What can school enrolment trends tell us?
Research being conducted by myself and a colleague analysing data compiled by the Queensland Department of Education and Training of all public school children entering prep (the first year of school in Queensland) in the years 2010 to 2014, showed that 2.1% of children who were attending prep were delayed entry.
80% of those 4,695 children were born in the months from March through June, making them the youngest in their cohort. Also, the majority (64%) of delayed entry enrolments were male.
Our research also suggests that delayed entry is on the increase in Queensland. Results show that the percentage of children with delayed entry into prep almost doubled between 2010 and 2014, increasing from 1.5% to 2.9% respectively.
More parents opting for their children to start school later
These figures indicate that more parents appear to be deciding that delaying entry will benefit their child.
Due to delayed entry, however, it is now possible to have four and a half year olds sitting and learning alongside six year olds.
At this developmental time point, this represents a very pronounced age difference because the developmental abilities of children at these ages are vastly different.
Such wide variation in children’s developmental abilities places additional strains on teachers who are required to differentiate the curriculum to meet all children’s needs.
It is possible that as the number of delayed entry children in prep rises, even more parents may choose to delay their children.
National statistics must be collected so that the rate, and impact of delayed entry across the country is determined.
In addition, the reasons parents give for choosing to delay must be understood.
As a decision to delay a child’s start to school has important implications for the child, the teacher and the wider school community, gathering detailed and national data in this area is essential.