On the Issue of Writing

It is very important for our children to learn how to write, what is not important is this incessant demand on our two year old’s to not only write but write 1 to 50, 100, 150 etc. as the spirit leads each school, teacher or even parent!

Please, can we just stop this ridiculous trend?

Children are not known to really be interested in the art or act of writing till they are 4 and above. We need to stop making demands based on our expectations which are themselves based on feelings, we need to look at what is age appropriate and work with just that.

Am I saying that children should not write before they are 4 years old?

No. (Just to clarify before I get bombarded with that accusation!)

But I am saying that we should stop insisting on things that are not practical.

Did you know that there are so many things you could do to prepare the hands of the child for writing?

This is the missing link which we need to get right.

It is wrong to be putting pencils in the hands of a 2 year old before they have learnt to use their hands and fingers, or gained any eye hand coordinating skills.

Instead of insisting on writing 1 to 100 etc, let’s try the following instead:

  1. Lacing – cut out a cardboard sheet into a nice shape and use a hole puncher to punch holes round the cardboard. Provide shoe laces for the children to lace round the board.
  2.  Play dough – children love working with this. I remember when I was a child, it was plasticine! Modelling clay for children to play with. It gets the fingers busy and helps the child develop strong fingers, fine motor skills.
  3. Beading – you can do this with big beads and strings, or pipe cleaners, make sure the materials used are safe and age appropriate.
  4. Cutting – put those hands to some use and get some power muscles forming in them. Make sure you show your child how to handle sharp objects correctly, always be there when they are working on this particular exercise and put it (the scissors) away in a safe place after use, but please let them learn to work with this instrument.
  5. Finger writing: in gari, with water or anything similar. Children love this!
  6. Tweezers, droppers pegs – You find a lot of exercises in the Montessori Practical Life curriculum using these tools. They do wonders helping the child gain strength and concentration skills.
  7. Using knobbed puzzles and toys so the child can learn to use their pincer grip even before they start handling the pencil
  8. Also give them writing instruments to handle even before they start formal writing, it all helps when there is no stress and the child has time to practice and get acquainted with the tools before hand. Colour pencils, crayons, chalk and markers.
  9. Allow the child to paint a lot, you do not need them to do masterpieces at this point, self expression and the time to get those fingers, hands and wrists working is the goal at this point.
  10. Let them write in the air, trace in the sand, and of course if you are Montessori inclined use the Sandpaper Numbers, and Alphabets.

The thing is I wouldn’t worry too much about whether my child can write 1 to 200 at 3 years, but I would try and make sure that my child understands quantity can count in sets, hear sounds in words, knows a lot of rhymes, enjoys listening to stories being read out loud, can retell them and also tell his own stories too.

On the issue of writing let’s get it right for our children’s sake

Ayopeju Falekulo

Your Mama Monte



7 thoughts on “On the Issue of Writing

  1. This is a good write up Mama Monte. Personally as a childhood educator, I’ve encountered parents who would push or so anything to see that their 2year olds writes especially when they see other children within that age bracket write; they tend to compare and as such put unnecessary pressure on the child. On the contrary, just as you’ve stated, some of these children tend to do excellently well in verbal aptitude, in rhymes and asking of questions. I think these thoughts you’ve shared should be blown to parents and even classroom teachers. Thanks again.


  2. This is a nice write up, we have parents comparing their children with their friends own telling u some of them are writing 1 to 10000 that u should also push their child to do same. This is an eye opener


  3. Parents need to wake up and put their children first. It’s not about what people are saying but what’s best for our children. Children need to be prepared and not pressured into what they are not ready for.


  4. I wish parents in Nigeria will give schools the opportunity to do their jobs. These parents also need to unlearn, learn and continue relearning what 21st century learning is all about. Many of them want us to keep teaching their children the way they were taught. It’s so sad.
    Thank you for the write up.


  5. This is a really good write up, parents need to be enlightened on Montessori education also to help them better understand their children.


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