Mummy I can write my name

By Poppy Kostantakis

The days of leaving teaching to the experts have gone and today, societies around the world recognise that families and teachers can work together, in partnership to help children learn. It is accepted that family has a big influence on children’s education.

As children prepare for school entry the question many parents ask is, “how can I start teaching my child at home?” The answer is, “you already are”.

Learning begins at home long before the structure of pre-school and school and continues as a life long process.

Parents are a child’s first teacher and successfully teach many skills before the child is ready for school. As the child approaches school age, parents eagerly want to provide the skills that schools expect from children who are ready to begin kindergarten. One of these skills is the child’s ability to write her name.

The first word many children learn to spell is their name. By learning to write their name, children build their sense of identity, self esteem and independence. Although it not an essential pre requisite for entering Kindergarten, a lot of children today begin school already knowing how to write their name.

So, how do I teach my child to write her name?

Children need opportunities to practice recognising their name. Provide a variety of writing materials and sheets of paper and encourage your child to frequently experiment with writing and drawing. Label the work with your child’s name.

When out walking, shopping or driving, play a game to spot letters from your child’s name on buildings and signs.

Write the individual letters from your child’s name on cards and hide these in your child’s room for her to find. When all the cards are found, your child can sequence them to make her name.

Using newspaper and magazine headlines, help your child to find and cut out letters to form her name.

Children need opportunities to practice writing their name.

Help your child recognise that the letters in her name are made up of round, curved and straight movements. Make these movements in the air with your child’s hands and feet.

Provide small items such as buttons, pasta shells, cotton balls etc. and encourage your child to use these to make her name.

Fun can be had using your child’s finger to ‘write’ her name in sand, a plate of icing sugar or a floured table top.

Use your finger to ‘write’ a letter from your child’s name on her back and ask your child to guess the letter. Your child can then ‘write’ on your back.

Expect your child's initial attempts to write her name to include letters written back to front and out of order. Accept these as valuable attempts at writing and find something to praise in your child's writing.

Provide opportunities for your child to trace her name. An eWorkbook that can be personalised with your child’s name is available at www.popet.com.au. The worksheets can be reprinted to provide lots of practice.

Present purpose for your child to write her name. Encourage your child to write her name on personal belongings, photos and artwork.

Invite your child to add her name to birthday cards, letters or emails that you may send to family or friends.

Help, praise and encourage your child through the learning process. The scribbles will begin to look like letters, the letters will come together and with confidence, your child will say “I can write my name”.

Poppy Kostantakis is Director Of Learning, POPET Education.  Ideas extracted from “My Name Is . . .” a personalised eWorkbook that helps children learn to write their name – available at www.popet.com.au

 
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