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Pencil Grip

  • 1.  Pencil Grip

    Posted 11 days ago

    Hive mind,

    I'm looking for some words of wisdom regarding pen/pencil grip.  Is 'proper' pencil grip still a thing? If so, at what point do we start encouraging kids to use it? What if they resist, do we risk squashing their interest in drawing because we force a certain grip? How can we tell if they are really ready to use 'proper' grip?  For reference, I teach 4 year olds.



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    Scott Mitchell
    Teacher
    Silver Spring Nursery School
    Maryland
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  • 2.  RE: Pencil Grip

    Posted 10 days ago

    The first five to ten times, shouldn't we try to introduce the proper grip?  Could the pencil be too big to grip?  From my own experience, when I first held the big crayon it's the drawing grip of drawing in arts.  It's like watching someone drawing delicately.  I think I know what's you are saying using the drawing grip during writing time.  I hope you help them to write properly so writing fast will be a skill in the future of theirs.



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    Yee-Ling Chau
    TX
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  • 3.  RE: Pencil Grip

    Posted 9 days ago
      |   view attached

    Attached are some suggestions from an Occupational Therapist, who writes that "Our fine motor skills are influenced by the stability of our upper limb joints and the stability of their base (the trunk)-i.e. where our arms attach."  This article includes strengthening exercises that might help.  I think we tend to think of the hands as a separate unit from the arms and the rest of the upper body so this was interesting to me.



    ------------------------------
    Aren Stone
    she/her/hers
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA
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    Attachment(s)



  • 4.  RE: Pencil Grip

    Posted 9 days ago

    I am sorta young.  That attachment is a little vague to me.  I am exhausted today.  I hope you do what you want to do.  

    You have some good points:

    This hand will usually develop into our dominant hand and become more specialized and accurate. Our non-dominant hand has the supporting or stabilizing function.     

    I sorta see it this way too.  The dominant hand does more activities and writes more notes than other hand.  I am not sure about it being more accurate than other, the other just sits and doesn't agree or agree or nothing.  Jokingly, Is my left hand stupid?



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    Yee-Ling Chau
    TX
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  • 5.  RE: Pencil Grip

    Posted 8 days ago

    Yee-Ling Chau:
    The attachment gives activities to increase strength, coordination, and movements in the arms, shoulders, and hands. These might help with pencil grip and other fine motor tasks as the hands get stronger and more flexible.  At least that's my understanding of what it says.

    I hope you're able to get some rest this weekend. 



    ------------------------------
    Aren Stone
    she/her/hers
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA
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  • 6.  RE: Pencil Grip

    Posted 5 days ago

    Aren,

    Thank you so much for the resource.  It brings me joy to see that our play based program allows for so many of the activities you describe as part of our normal day!



    ------------------------------
    Scott Mitchell
    Teacher
    Silver Spring Nursery School
    Maryland
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Pencil Grip

    Posted 6 days ago

    This is a great question. Our mindset with children under the age of five should be what needs to develop to support a proper grip. (It is not a matter of teaching, rather a matter of development.) 

    Handwriting is a complex task that requires the entire body. The neck, torso, shoulders, elbows, and wrists need to developed and stabilized to support the hands and fingers. Separation of hand also needs to be developed before children can properly hold a pencil. Other aspects of development need to be considered such as proprioception which helps the hand monitor how much strength to use when holding a pencil as well as midline development which helps determine the dominant hand. 

    When we recognize what all is needed for handwriting, it helps us shift the focus from "teaching a proper grip" to creating an environment that encourages lots of play (big body as well as fine motor) to develop the entire body to eventually support a proper grip when the time is right for that child. So, for a 4 year old classroom, provide plenty of time and space for child-led play. Have blank paper and crayons around the room for open ended drawing. Have materials of different textures and weights in addition to scissors, play dough, and anything hands-on. Also allow as much time as possible outside for climbing, running around, and any type of big body play! 

    Hope this helps!



    ------------------------------
    Stacy Benge, M.S.

    Early Childhood Speaker
    Author of The Whole Child Alphabet: How Young Children Actually Develop Literacy (Exchange Press)
    www.StacyBenge.com
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  • 8.  RE: Pencil Grip

    Posted 5 days ago

    Stacy:
    Love your explanation!



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    Aren Stone
    she/her/hers
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Pencil Grip

    Posted 3 days ago

    Thank you Aren!



    ------------------------------
    Stacy Benge, M.S.

    Early Childhood Speaker
    Author of The Whole Child Alphabet: How Young Children Actually Develop Literacy (Exchange Press)
    www.StacyBenge.com
    www.ExchangePress.com/abc
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Pencil Grip

    Posted 5 days ago

    Stacy,

    Thank you very much for your reply.  We are a play based program that promotes many of the activities you have described and mirrors our philosophy!  This will help me explain to parents why we do what we do. 

    Also, I checked out your website and see that you've been a guest on The Early Childhood Nerd.  I recently started following that podcast.  And I see you do presentations.  I am the president of a teacher training organization in the MD/DC/VA area and we are always looking for great play based presentations.  I will reach out to you through your website to see if you might be available for a virtual professional development program we are offering this fall.  We already have Mike Huber booked!



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    Scott Mitchell
    Teacher
    Silver Spring Nursery School
    Maryland
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Pencil Grip

    Posted 5 days ago

    Stacey Benge,

    do you remember those little pencil grips on pencils?  they are little things that attach to the pencil.  the index finger, and other fingers are placed accordingly for i guess near "proper grip".  are we allowed to use those in preschool?

    not sure what you meant by "Separation of hand", it is a little bit creepy.  what do you mean?

    lovely word "proprioception".

    you are a little inspiring to me, i think i will compare crayon, pencil and pen again, and find out the smoothness between them.

    send me, pictures of what types of writing utensils, and drawing utensils, or we try it all?  maybe i'll try a pen during drawing time.  then, if in the mood, i'll try a crayon during writing time.  Who jokes around during this time of serious?

    You just get me "allow as much time",  it's like i got time to say, i rather use a pen during writing.  Also, since it's drawing time, i'll use a pencil and crayon.

    I'm in such a heated mood tonight.  

    Please teachers, including myself, let's go experiment.



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    Yee-Ling Chau
    TX
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  • 12.  RE: Pencil Grip

    Posted 4 days ago

    What an excellent and detailed answer, Stacey. I love how you always tie everything all together. Thank you.



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    Maryann Harman
    Founder
    Music with Mar., LLC
    FL
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  • 13.  RE: Pencil Grip

    Posted 3 days ago

    Thank you Maryann!



    ------------------------------
    Stacy Benge, M.S.

    Early Childhood Speaker
    Author of The Whole Child Alphabet: How Young Children Actually Develop Literacy (Exchange Press)
    www.StacyBenge.com
    www.ExchangePress.com/abc
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: Pencil Grip

    Posted 5 days ago

    James // Scott - Before  pencil you need to think putty then picking up beads with tweezers then adding beads to strings and then scissors. OTs use a crayon broke in half and drawing with a paper in the child eye level while standing.  



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    Fabiola Zanini
    Sub
    Rose Educators
    IL
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  • 15.  RE: Pencil Grip

    Posted 3 days ago

    I think it is also important to remember that the ligaments in the wrist are not fully formed until age 7. Flip-flopping between hands is appropriate up until age 6, though usually a dominant hand has been identified before then. Focusing on the development of upper arm muscles and the torso through lots of play is most important in the early years! When children begin to form letters and have an interest in writing, encouraging a tri-pod grip can eventually lead to more stamina with writing, though many people are successful writers without a tri-pod grip. With 4 year olds, I would continue to focus on the understanding of the use of writing and offer lots of organic opportunities within the children's passions and interests for them to explore drawing/writing in a meaningful way. Grip can come later! 



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    Michelle Staller
    Assistant Head of Early Childhood and Lower School
    Annunciation Orthodox School
    TX
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  • 16.  RE: Pencil Grip

    Posted 3 days ago

    Michelle that second to last sentence says it all!



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    Jamie Radley
    Passionate ECE Professional
    San Leandro, CA
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