10 tips for enabling early handwriting
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10 tips for enabling early handwriting

21 January 2021 By Nicola Parker, Category Buyer - Early Years


In this article, our early years buyer Nicola provides her top tips for supporting children as they start developing their early handwriting skills.

When children realise that marks can be used to communicate in the same way that spoken words can, they begin to use them as tools to make their ideas and emotions clear. Through mark making, they are developing imagination and creativity, while testing their understanding of the world.

1. Plan your resources carefully

There are so many ways that children can explore early handwriting. Make sure that resources are carefully planned across all areas of play, so that children can engage in spontaneous mark making both indoors and outside.

2. Create a secure emotional environment

Mark making allows children to express their feelings, tell stories and build self-awareness, but to do this they need to be in an environment where they feel secure. It is hugely important to sensitively provide support that enables children to grow and develop at their own pace.

3. Listen to their narratives

The marks that you see on paper may only tell half of the story. By listening to a child, you will quickly see that it’s not always the most technically accurate marks that show the greatest development in understanding.

4. Celebrate mark making

By celebrating a child’s attempts at mark making you immediately place value on the activity, which is likely to make children more interested in persevering with it, helping them to develop skills. It also builds their self-esteem and encourages them to take pride in what they create.

5. Don’t put pressure on

Children need support with new skills, but they also need space and freedom to make mistakes and learn in their own way. You may want to consider providing whiteboards where children can easily change what they are doing and correct mistakes, stopping them from getting frustrated and disheartened.

6. Allow children to focus on their interests

With early handwriting, a child’s name is a great place to start. It is something that they really feel belongs to them and is a fantastic form of self-expression. They can use it on almost anything they create!

7. Work with parents

Build a close relationship with parents and share the mark making journey – it’s important that children are being challenged to develop in this area of learning at the right level both in childcare and at home. Give children a sense of pride in showcasing their skills.

8. Show them how it’s done

There is a huge focus on the importance of self-expression and independence when it comes to early mark making, but much like when children learn to talk, they need to be surrounded by examples of writing to flourish. This can be through books or simple demonstrations.

9. Let them take control

Have the confidence to make resources easy to access, giving children the responsibility to select their own materials. You can also allow children to create their own displays so that they can choose their favourite creations to showcase.

10. Make it social

Encourage them to share their work with others or work on things together – building on their communication and social skills. You could even set up ways for them to send notes and drawings to each other.

View our range of handwriting supplies here.

Do you have any more tips? Or just want to showcase your children’s work? We’d love to see! Make sure to tag us on Instagram!


Useful Blogs:

Making friends with your feelings

Provoking curiosity in early years

Early years mental health activities

Categories: Education , Early Years

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