fine motor

Righty or Lefty? Hand Dominance in Preschool

preschool hand dominance.png

When I was a Parent Educator, I had many families that asked about when their child would show a preference in hand domination.  I personally, am right handed.  Can't do a darn thing with my left!  My best friend from childhood is a lefty, but she could do lots of things with her right hand.  Lefties are far out-numbered, many say that we live in a right-handed world...and we probably do :)  So, when will you know which hand is your child's dominant hand?  Keep reading to find out what I've learned!

According to Marianne Gibbs from Write Out of the Box, children generally develop hand dominance between the ages of 4 and a half to 6 years of age.

So, this means that some Pre-K students may have not developed hand dominance yet.  Each student is different and it is important to embrace the differences.

As parents or teachers it is important that we do not force our hand dominance onto children.  Is the world a little easier for right-handed people (considering we are the majority)?  Yes, I suppose it is.  But, it is not appropriate to force or train your child’s hand to fit in with the majority.  We need to make sure to remember to hand children objects at their midline, or the belly button.  Even when our children are infants and we are handing them toys, try not to show a preference my handing the object to their right or left hand.

Can you imagine how frustrating it would be writing with your non-dominant hand, all because someone thought you should be right handed, when your left is where it’s at?

How do I know when my child’s hand dominance has emerged?  Well, observe them.  Do they cross their midline with a particular hand to grab something?  For example: if I were right handed and I reached to grab the salt and pepper that was to the left of me, using my right hand, I cross my midline to get the s&p.  If you see this repeatedly, chances are that the hand that is crossing the midline is their dominant hand.

Which is your dominant hand?

Encourage the Home & School Connection with a Fine Motor Tub

Tell me something... do you happen to struggle with making meaningful home and school connections?  

A positive connection between school and families is an integral part of the success of students in the classroom.    It is important for us to try and educate parents on the needs of their preschool aged children.  When parents and educators are on the same page, a child's success can soar.  

Adding Small Parts in the Preschool Block Center

The How and Why of adding small parts to the preschool block center.
The How and Why of adding small parts to the preschool block center.

Small parts, loose parts, a trinket box- there are lots of names revolving around this idea.  But, whatever you choose to call them, they are a great addition to the preschool block center.

What are small parts?

Small parts are basically materials that children can manipulate freely, with no set instructions.  Small parts can be found everywhere!  Some ideas you see in the above photo include: rings from gallon milk jugs, empty spools, old puzzle pieces, nuts, bolts, buttons, babies and a few random things that were donated to our preschool.

Why use small parts in the block center?

Small parts are a wonderful way to enhance block play.  Simple little parts can become so many different things when building structures.  For instance, in the photo below, you can see students pretending that the small parts are cookies.  I love the creativity that is sparked by adding these small pieces to the block center.  Not to mention the fine motor skill that my students are practicing!

The How and Why of adding small parts to the preschool block center.
The How and Why of adding small parts to the preschool block center.

Small parts are such an easy open-ended tool to add to your preschool room!  Just remember to be cautious with student who still like to place items in their mouths.

Do you use small parts in your classroom?  Tell me about it in the comments!

Writing our Names in Preschool

Name writing in preschool is an essential skill in preparing for Kindergarten.  A child's name is generally the first word that they write.  Lots of pride comes from a child learning to write his or her name.  This is why I created a Name Writing Notebook for my students. Read on to find out more!

Name Writing Notebook for Preschool
Name Writing Notebook for Preschool

Before name writing can take place, it is important that children take the first two steps:

1.Recognizing: students need to be able to recognize their name (read a post about this here)

2.Constructing: students need to be able to build their name (read a post about this here)

Then, students can work on writing their names.  I like to start with the first letter of a students name. We always practice the first letter as a capital letter.  In the Name Writing Notebook, students work on tracing the first letter and then writing the first letter on their own in a grey box, as a designated spot on the paper to practice.  In this notebook you will not find dots or dashed lines.  I believe that children can be easily confused by those dots/dashes.  By tracing solid lines, students are practicing the strokes rather than going from dot to dot, which can sometimes result in jagged lines.

We then move on to tracing the whole name with only the first letter a capital letter.  I know that there is much debate over having children write in all capital letters and the transition to lowercase will happen.  But, to be honest, I am not of that thinking.  To me, a habit is a habit.  How I practice things will be how I complete them.   We do explore with building and writing capital letters, just not when we work on writing our names.

name writing in preschool
name writing in preschool

What I am loving about these notebook is the versatility.  Lots of different options for name practice in an easy to understand, child friendly format.  Check out some of the pages below:

name writing in pre-k
name writing in pre-k

Do you feel like your preschoolers are ready to practice writing their names?  

Preschool Playdough Center

Ideas and resources for a preschool, pre-k or kindergarten playdough center.

Preschool Classroom Centers

PLAYDOUGH CENTER MATERIALS

Playdough: Commercially made or home made playdough

Playdough Tools: Rolling pins, plastic scissors, small pizza cutters and other dough sculpting tools

Cookie Cutters: Various cookie cutters to cut out different shapes, letters, numbers or seasonal themes

Playdough Stampers: Long-handled stampers to make letters and numbers in dough (my favorite are from Lakeshore Learning)

Playdough Center

BLOCK CENTER LABELS

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