Before a child writes their name

Before a child writes their name

Part one of this readiness for school series
For many parents and carers, the prospect of their young child starting school can be a worrying time. It may be assumed that children need to be able to ‘write their names’ in order to be school ready. However this is one of the last things as a parent carer or educator we need to worry about. There are so many other ways we can prepare children and support them in readiness for school. In this Curiosity Approach ‘ School Readiness series we will share useful knowledge, information and helpful hints and tips to prepare children for school.

Firstly, It’s important we allow children to navigate through important stages of development, to allow them to be little, to take the pressure off and recognise handwriting and writing their name needs so many other skills and development FIRST.

Image is courtesy of Dance with me in the heart
One of the most important things we can allow young children to do is play. Through play children will be learning. Play is crucial for developing pre-writing skills and preparing children for school readiness.

The children in this photo are developing critical thinking skills, mathematical concepts. They are problem solving, testing and hypothesising ideas. Collaborating with their peers, the are taking turns, engaging in communication and developing listening skills.

By engaging in play-based activities that target fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, creativity, social skills, and cognitive development, children can develop the foundational skills necessary for successful pre-writing abilities and school readiness. Play provides a holistic and enjoyable way for children to learn and grow in preparation for later academic challenges.

Dexterity, a good grip, fine motor skills and the ability to use strength,force. Not just in their fingers their whole body too. ‘Muscle development for writing is a comprehensive process that begins with movements of the whole arm and progresses toward very detailed fine motor control at the fingertips (Adolph, 2008, p.100)
Movement is essential for learning

Movement IS learning!

Fine Motor Skills





Pivotal joint development

Auditory discrimination

Force, or grading of movement

Balance vestibular

Gross motor skills

Bilateral coordination

Body awareness


Hand preference

Body position

Postural reflexes

Tactile discrimination

Eye-hand coordination

Muscle tone

Postural stability

Visual discrimination

All the senses

Power. agility, strength
All these are essential FIRST, in order for a child to write their name!

A child writing their name is NOT an indication of how well they’ll do at school! It’s important we stop the focus on being able to write their name before getting to school and turn our attention to playing, movement, and getting outside. Big scale movements that require strength, GRIP.

If a child is moving, PLAYING, lifting things, free marking, painting, scribbling, vertical painting, digging, climbing, crawling along the ground, swinging, hanging upside down, rolling, stirring, pulling, stretching, kneading, pushing, pulling, prodding, poking. Running, jumping, climbing trees!

MOVING, PLAYING. They WILL be laying the foundations for handwriting skills, prerequisites for writing their name.

Before a child holds a pencil

Fine motor skills and gross motor skills are the secret to a child's ability to hold and handle a pencil, effortlessly gliding it across the page. It's about having the power to add pressure and make beautiful marks. But when these skills are lacking, frustration and discomfort take over, turning the joy of writing into a dreaded chore. What we don’t want to do is turn children OFF being creative, drawing, holding a pencil.

Image courtesy of Knighton Day Nursery

As adults, we can instinctively celebrate the milestone of seeing children write letters and their own names. We witness the evidence of their academic growth on paper. It's obvious, logical... It's EVIDENT! However at The Curiosity Approach® we encourage parents, carers and educators to shift the focus away from physical evidence and embrace the magic of child development. To trust in the knowledge that even when we can't physically see it on the paper, children ARE learning through play. They are building solid foundations for their future.

This child is developing shoulder strength and stability, cores strength, body awareness and pivotal joint development all of which are essential for future writing skills

After all, you can't build a house on weak foundations.

So let them be little, let them explore, tinker, and PLAY. Because every moment is a learning experience

It's all about igniting that intrinsic desire to try, to explore, and to have FUN!
Want to learn more? The next magazine in our Curiosity Approach® series is all about gross motor development and explaining the power of pivotal joints for children.

You can get this blog as a beautifully designed magazine -( you are not permitted  to copy and paste our words) instead we have created 5 informative magazines in the school readiness series - click the link to purchase https://the-curiosity-approach...

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Adolph, K.E. 2008. “Motor/Physical Development: Locomotion.” In Encyclopaedia of Infant and Early Childhood Development, 359–73. San Diego, CA: Academic Press