Forming the fingers in just the right way to hold a pencil can be a challenge for some children with fine motor issues or poor muscle tone. Dr. Montessori recognized the need for the young child to build hand strength and to allow for the pincer grip to mature before offering the tool in an effort to prevent the student from developing poor and tiring form. Many of the materials in the Montessori classroom from Practical Life to Geography or designed in a way that promotes strengthening the hand and developing a proper pincer grip.
Recently, Ms. Megan conferenced with an uprising Kindergarten student eager to begin his writing, yet still maturing in fine motor control and hand strength. The family and teacher collaborate to assist the young child in this development- hereis what she shared:
Thanks for your time and open communication on Monday. I couldn’t find the list of fine motor activities compiled from years ago but thougth I’d send along some ideas off the top of my head and I’m sure you will come up with plenty of your own:
pennies in a jar
playdoh or clay
magnets on the refrigerator
games with small pieces
games with cards
make a rubber band ball
stretching rubberbands on a peg board
opening the mailbox
feeding Bella with a small scoop or scoop with handle
finger food (grapes, veggie sticks, berries, peanuts, etc.)
dipping into sauces
dialing a phone number
putting your earrings in/out
ziploc bags with zippers
buckles, snaps, buttons, etc.
with pencils, crayons, etc. keep them thick and chunky or use grips
crayon rocks are great
Every opportunity he has to grip something small will help him strengthen the tiny muscles in his hand and give him more confidence with tools and eventually a pencil.
Hope this is helpful!
Taking the time to build upon proper technique and the process will allow this student the opportunity to mature further. When his hand is prepared for the tool- in this case a pencil- we feel confident that the writing will unfold. Yet, the child is not left to mature on his own. Both parent and teacher collaborate to develop together activities at home and school which will assist him in building the skill. When it comes, he will most certainly feel the pride of “I did it”- as will those involved scaffolding him on his road to mastery.