Start writing: from the palotes to the letters

How is it possible that in just three years children are able to pass from almost not knowing how to pick up a pencil to be able to trace all the letters and all the numbers by heart? A) Yes they start to write children and they pass from the palotes to the letters.

Both parents and teachers are amazed at the wonderful evolution of our children and students from the beginning of the Infant cycle until they reach Primary. It seems miraculous, but it is not. It is a methodical and conscientious process that leads them to develop the necessary skills that will make them capable of getting started in the art of writing. It is unraveled by Professor María Galvache.

When two or three years old children face their first day of school in Early Childhood Education, it seems impossible that only three courses later are able to write fluently. There is a lot of work behind that wonderful road. It is not an easy task but with a good methodology, high doses of motivation, patience and affection, learning to write will become an exciting adventure for them.

This learning is aimed at acquiring and developing in the child, during the Early Childhood Education stage, one of the primary skills of the educational process. However, before starting it, it is essential that the children have acquired the necessary neurobiological maturity.

The stages of writing: this is how children begin to write

Before entering the school, the child must have reached an adequate level of sensory and motor development and a sufficient mastery of basic movements. This will allow you to acquire greater fluidity, muscle tone, directionality, segmentation and consequently, greater speed and clarity in your writing.

Stage 1. Fine motor skills

As previous steps to give pencil and paper to make strokes, we will try to exercise in the following aspects:

- Knowledge and control of your own body.
- The strengthening of the muscles of the fingers and hands, to achieve precision in the pressure of the fingers (fine motor).
- The perception and internalization of rhythm.
- The achievement of correct laterality.
- The spatio-temporal organization.
- The development of attention.

And it is fundamental that an adequate organization of space, time and rhythm is fundamental. The control of writing movements is exercised from the spatial and temporal dimensions. The spatial aspect consists of being able to carry out a movement in the chosen direction; while the temporal aspect allows to anticipate, interrupt, slow down and repeat the movement. That is why it is of great importance that these aspects begin to work in the first cycle of Early Childhood Education and continue with greater emphasis throughout the second cycle.

Stage 2. The prewriting

This is a crucial moment from which children will be faced with the need to commit effort and sustained attention. It is in our hands to provide motivation that makes learning attractive. For this we must present the different tasks in a playful way, physically interpreting the strokes they have to make, that is, begin to trace them with the whole body so, once they have been internalized, translate them on paper.

Each stroke must be done in different sessions; and the type and number of them will depend on the age of the student. There is a great variety of surfaces, materials and resources for the child to draw before he does it with pencil and paper. It is very convenient, therefore, that you start creating your first drawings with your finger in the air, in sand, flour, on continuous paper, with finger paint, etc.

Later, we will provide you with waxes, chalk and markers of great thickness so that you can make your productions freely, grabbing these instruments in a natural way. After the opportune time, in which the child has exercised many strokes and drawings in this way, is already available use instruments that require greater skill and precision when it comes to picking them correctly. Finally, it was time to use the pencil.

There is a logical sequencing for the realization of the different strokes. The most appropriate for the second cycle of Early Childhood Education is the following:

- Continuous vertical stroke.
- Discontinuous vertical line.
- Continuous horizontal line.
- Discontinuous horizontal line.
- Horizontal and vertical strokes combined in the shape of a cross.
- Horizontal and vertical lines in angular form.
- Horizontal and vertical line forming a grid.
- Broken line.
- Continuous, discontinuous and cross-shaped inclined lines.
- Broken broken line.
- Continuous broken line.
- Vertical wavy line.
- Horizontal wavy line.
- Discontinuous curved strokes.
- Curved lines joined.
- Loops up and down.
- Round outline.
- Spiral trace.

Stage 3. Start writing

Before beginning the writing itself, the child has worked all the strokes and, therefore, will have achieved good directionality, pulse control, spatial orientation and visuo-motor coordination. Once acquired these skills, writing would not have to be too much effort.

The proper way to work these tasks together with the necessary and simultaneous approach to reading prepares the child for Begin to reproduce numbers and letters by relating the spelling with its meaning. And, indeed, the learning of writing has to be preceded by an approach to reading and thus load the meaning of the letters so that they do not remain in a mere trace of signs lacking in meaning.

Moving to practice, we will begin by tracing the vowels, then the consonants to, then, join vowel and consonant. From there it will start to form words and copy simple sentences that the child is able to read and understand. Parallel to the copy of sentences, the child will play dictated words and phrases below.

As we see, then, it is a complex learning process, which we call literacy. A process that will be accompanied at all times by exercises that favor the children's apprehension of reading and writing.

María Galvache García. Teacher of Infant Education of the Orvalle School

Video: How to Practice - Improve your Art Skills, the Smart Way!

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