Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Encouraging Prewriting Skills

One of the things I truly believe in is that children must be given plenty of opportunities to scribble. Of course the trick is to teach them that scribbling is to be done on paper and not on tables and walls. I have seen parents shower their toddlers with toys and toys but never give them the pleasure of holding a pencil. Now some parents may ask, when do I start? My answer is simple, when they are ready. Every child develops at a different rate. You know your child best. Use your observations skills. Like I said before, provide the opportunity. Have pencils and paper readily available and easily accessible.

Children learn best through modelling. So start out by having drawing sessions with your toddler on your lap. Even better if you illustrate while telling a story. Don't worry if your elephant looks like a crocodile. You do not need to be a Michaelangelo to teach your child what a pencil can do. Later, give them a pencil and see what they do with it. If they put it in their mouth, then obviously they aren't ready. When they start making marks on paper, the answer to your question whether they are ready or not glares you in the face.
Don't rush them into drawing shapes and writing alphabets. According to Susan Striker in her book entitled "Young At Art" she says, "This point in scribbling development is so crucial to the child's normal development that it can be devastating to now rush the process or "teach" the child how to represent realistic objects." In other words, scribbling is important. Don't disrupt their learning process.

Make writing fun. Writing doesn't just have to be paper and pencil. My kids have a blast with their blackboard and chalk, and whiteboard and markers. Kindergartens these days can dish out really boring work. Kids come home copying the strokes over and over again. Where is the excitement? Check out the pictures below. Damus was happily drawing lines and circles on the animals. Karina, who is already passed prewriting stage, was also eager to do the activity.

So ignore the old lady who screams at you for giving your child a pencil that will poke his eye out. Provide the opportunities, make them fun, then sit back and enjoy watching your child grow in skills and imagination.


  1. is amazing how creative our little children can be!

  2. Another great post Lian. Thank you for your great parenting reminders. Your children can draw really well. Now where's my pencils and papers? (*goes off searching for writing materials*)

  3. Exactly. We're there to provide them opportunities...

    Let them explore!
    (but not on the walls of the house, ah :P )

  4. Wow, Ai Lian. Karina can draw really well! Damus filled in the patterns on the animals? Great job!

  5. Egghead:
    Yes, we shouldn't underestimate them.

    Thanks for the compliment. Just writing on stuff that I ponder on. By the way, got the animals idea from some books I got at the Times Warehouse sale. They were flap books on animals with spots and stripes. Inspiration is all around but we must be in tune lah.

    Actually can explore the walls too. My friend gave me this great idea and said tape a mahjong paper on the wall :)

  6. those are really good drawings

  7. Err... I think I need to clarify that the animals drawn by me. The kids just fill in the blank spaces. Plus I copy from book. My art is hopeless. Hoping my kids will do better. :)

  8. Hi, Lian, i really think you are a smart mother ^^ I laerned from your blog too. ;)

  9. I like your post! Thanks for sharing the tips! You are really a smart mother.

    My girl has a drawing book and her own cryons and colour pencil. She is not only drawing on the paper but on the floor and her hands and feet!

  10. Princess Yoyo and Jefferene,
    Thank you for your compliments. *Blush* I learn from mothers like you, so that makes us all smart. Anyone who takes time to ponder and do what's best for their child is a smart mother.


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