Ever since we are born, we go through the many phases of our life’s beautiful journey. We receive extraordinary experiences and attain countless learnings. Similarly, when we as children begin to know how to write, we progress through multiple stages. It is admirable to watch youngsters, read, write, and speak fluently and carry themselves smartly. The pride and joy that their parents exude is unimaginable and the credit goes to them and early childhood educators who mould these little angels. Every child is unique and precious. We have to acknowledge the fact that each budding gem is putting their best forward to learn as guided aptly by their teacher. Some are receptive and master quickly and a few may take their time to grasp the basic skill of writing. Let us understand a child’s journey and the lovely stages that they go through from as initial as scribbling to be able to write words with confidence.
Stage 1 – Unplanned Scribbling – 15 months to 2.5 years
This stage is incredibly fun for toddlers when they begin to hold objects in their tiny hands like pencils, crayons, sketch pens, markers, paints and start drawing and scribbling their illegible best. It could be on paper, walls, floor, furniture, anywhere. You still love them for that as you truly feel happy while watching them do that. Of course, the verbal gibberish that they utter while excitedly engaging in this, takes the cute quotient to another level. At this stage, they are taking their first random steps. Scribbling is a way of writing their thoughts. They start to figure out their movements while creating art with scribbles. They feel the texture of the various objects and smell their colour. Some kids may not like it, but most kids enjoy these sensory activities and can be found scribbling whenever they want.
Stage 2 – Orderly Scribbling – 2 years to 3 years
Now when toddlers have gotten familiar with holding objects and scribbling, their second steps are towards developing greater control of their muscles and expressing themselves better. Their hand eye coordination increases and their fine motor skills are established. Their random scribbles start getting more goal or purpose oriented. They understand the meaning of what object they are holding to draw or scribble a particular straight line or a curved one. With more practice, they learn to hold the object correctly between their thumb and pointer finger.
Stage 3 – Distinct Drawings – 2.5 years to 3.5 years
At this third stage, children begin to make definite patterns with lines and curves. They understand that these patterns keep getting repeated while writing. They realize that the lines, curves, dots, and patterns they are making, have a meaning. So, while they are still unable to write actual letters properly, some partial components are seen in their writing. They will try to write something and will make an effort to explain to you what they have written or what thoughts they are trying to convey and that step is very important in the process of children learning to write.
Stage 4 – Definite Structures – 3 years to 5 years
By this stage, children will start making objects or drawing out pictures. Usually when we adults try to draw something, we have a particular image of that in mind and that helps us bring out the idea on paper. In the same way children begin to observe things around them and while drawing or writing they are thinking of the object and then with the artwork and materials that they have, they bring out their creations. It would start with simple figures progressing to slightly complex ones. It may still not be completely accurate but way more structured. Now there would be planning involved in their heads rather than random scribbling. They will slowly begin to even differentiate between pictures, letters, and words. They will also share and describe what they have been trying to attempt, whether drawn or written and our encouragement makes them feel elated
Stage 5 – Actual Letters and Words – 5 years to 6 years
This last milestone that children go through with discovering to write and draw is quite empowering for them. By now they have had enough practice with random and definite scribbles. Now their quest is to develop their writing. Their understanding of letters, symbols, patterns, and words will increase manifold. Their confidence increases as well. They will start to bring out the meaning of the text written by them rather than it just being vague letters. Now they will not scribble but proceed to writing complete words and then sentences.
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