• Blog By
    Ms. Sumita Sen Mazumdar
    Editor – Content & Academic Coordinator – KG
    The Indian Public School
    October 7, 2020 | In Blog

Pre-writing skills, as the name suggests, are the foundational skills that should ideally be imparted to a child well before teaching them to write. These skills determine a child’s ability to hold and use a pencil fluidly, write legibly and neatly, and draw and colour with precision.

A vital component of pre-writing skills is pre-writing shapes or strokes that most letters and numbers are made up of such as:


Vertical line |

Horizontal line —

Circle O

Plus sign +


Diagonal lines / \


Triangle Δ

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Effective pre-writing activities

These are usually taught in a sequence from simple to complex, starting at around 2+ years of age with the vertical line and going up to the triangle by age 5+. Scribbling, tracing shapes and patterns, drawing and colouring, joining the dots and copying lines are all examples of effective pre-writing activities for a kindergartener. To write legibly, a child must have good control and precise movements of the fingers, wrist and hand. This necessarily requires fine motor skill development. Activities with play dough; scribbling or drawing on the floor or on a vertical surface like a blackboard; using tweezers and tongs in pinching movements; sliding beads on a string; tracing shapes in the air, water and sand; and cutting out figures using scissors (blunt and always under supervision) are ways to develop fine motor skills in preschoolers. It is also important that children are encouraged to explore and engage with real world objects through play to develop appropriate visual perceptual skills in addition to fine motor skills.


Benefits of pre-writing activities

Children essentially need gross motor play, preferably through outdoor time with physical activities to develop upper body strength and postural control that is essential for pre-writing and handwriting skills. Activities that cross the mid-line (the imaginary line running from the nose to pelvis that divides the body into left and right sides) promotes the coordination and communication of the left and right hemispheres of the brain and are vital to the development of writing skills in addition to many others.

Ample opportunities for outdoor play with crawl and climb spaces to develop gross motor skills and cross lateral movements should be integrated into a typical kindergarten day. Activities for upper limb strengthening such as wheelbarrow walking are key too. Activities for development of visual motor skills including functional visual skills such as eye tracking and eye-hand coordination must also be included.


Indicators that a child may have improperly developed pre-writing skills

  • An uncomfortable or awkward pencil grip with evident difficulty in maneuvering a pencil for writing, drawing or colouring.
  • An inclination to use the whole hand instead of a few fingers to handle and manipulate objects.
  • Untidy handwriting or inability to colour neatly within outlines.
  • Lack of interest in participating in writing activities despite being verbally skilled.
  • Too little or too much pressure on the writing instrument.
  • Additionally, when children experience writing difficulties, this may also be indirectly expressed as fatigue, frustration or low self-esteem at not being able to keep up with the rest of the class in terms of speed or writing clarity. This could affect academic performance as well.
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How are pre-writing skills taught at TIPS KG

At TIPS kindergarten, special care is taken through a combination of carefully constructed play and learn environments to familiarize children with various activities that develop pre-writing skills along with activities for motor skill development. Age-appropriate activities are designed and implemented through facilitator interaction. Developmental milestones are mapped and activities are tweaked according to individual child learning requirements so that every child entrusted to our care has the appropriate exposure to the tools that can help them to write successfully, neatly and with good speed.


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June 2024