I spend a lot of time in telehealth with toddlers and young preschoolers doing pre-writing. It requires few tools, it is easy to demonstrate, and it is fun. But when parents tell their two year-old that they drew a circle after they scribbled in a circular pattern, I stop them.
After all, copying a circular scribble is a 2.5 year-old skill, and a very important one. Control of a curved stroke is huge for pre-writing.
Because what you say to a child who is learning pre-writing strokes matters. A lot.
- A circular scribble doesn’t have an optimal starting location, nor does it have a sequence. It can be more oval, it can be more round. It can be 3 revolutions, or 30.
- A CIRCLE starts at the top (of the page, of the section of paper, etc) and rotates to the left. It connects to the beginning point of the stroke. Once.
- Confusing the two risks making early writing harder. I get paid a considerable amount to remediate errors like starting letters at the baseline and writing too slowly to copy from the white board. It starts here, with inconsistent and incorrect instruction at a vulnerable period in learning.
Teaching a child that there is a difference doesn’t mean criticism. At all. I celebrate every circular scribble, and I demonstrate a circle when kids are ready to learn, or when I want them to scribble ON TOP OF MY CIRCLE. Or draw a face on my circle. You get the idea.
I want a child to notice that there is a difference, and learn what those differences are, without judgement. This will help them understand how to execute the correct start and sequence to draw a circle when they are cognitively and motorically ready.
Are you a pediatric therapist or a teacher?
You will want to grab my UPDATED book, because it has activity pages that help you with pre-writing!
The JointSmart Child: Living and Thriving With Hypermobility Volume One: The Early Years is an incredible book that includes practical ideas as well as understandable but medically accurate explanations for the complex problems we see with young hypermobile kids. The appendix was just significantly expanded. There are traceable and reproducible pages, developmentally sequenced, that make pre-writing fun and easy…for everyone!
Pick it up on sale during the week of 10/19/21 on Your Therapy Source
They are bundling all of my books to give therapists and parents a super value. Amazon does carry them, but their version doesn’t have the new pre-writing pages, and their downloads aren’t printable!