The Pre-K classroom on the first day of school is quite a place to behold! All these little ones—some well-versed at saying bye to their families, some crying nonstop, some knowing their shapes, and some not knowing any shapes—are all in your classroom.
When it comes to choosing the correct Pre-K writing materials for your class, it’s good to keep developmental levels, standards, and learning and cultural differences in mind. The same strategy or tool might not be effective for every student, so a variety of developmental, hands-on learning strategies and materials are key to preparing your little learners for kindergarten.
So…when do you start writing instruction in Pre-K?
Pre-K children are generally not ready for either formal paper/pencil lessons or for kindergarten student editions. They need an informal readiness program that suits their developmental needs and abilities. Here’s the difference between informal readiness and formal instruction.
Formal instruction should not begin until children can demonstrate the following:
- Hand dominance
- Knowledge of simple size and shape concepts for Big Line/Little Line and Big Curve/Little Curve
- Ability to hold a crayon with fingers placed correctly
- Satisfactory level of attention, cognitive skills, and cooperation
- Imitation of a vertical line, a horizontal line, a circle, and a cross
If your class has not ticked these boxes, it’s best to start with a pre-writing approach first, and then move to writing capital letters (the E-A-S-I-E-S-T way to start), then lowercase instruction.
Typically, children are ready to start writing their lowercase letters the summer before kindergarten. By this time, they have had an opportunity to gain experience writing capitals and learning to recognize lowercase letters. Many Pre-K children will write lowercase letters in their names. With careful demonstration, they can learn to imitate those letters and form them correctly.
See below for options for your Pre-K classroom, ranging from pre-writing for early preschoolers all the way to older Pre-Ks and transitional kindergarten programs.