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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently read an article on the internet that said girls develop fine motor skills up to a full SIX YEARS before boys do. Does anyone have information or experience regarding this?<br><br>
This worries me greatly because my DS is in Kindergarten and there is great emphasis on writing in a journal daily and it is frustrating him. He compares himself to the girls and knows his handwriting is not looking as nice and it takes him longer to do, so he doesn't write as much.
 

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It's likely that he's developing typically. Lots of kindergarten children have awkward printing and writing. I think there's a fair amount of research into different developmental paces between boys and girls for a lot of skills. There's also information about written expression issues and dysgraphia, that may be problems for some children, boys and girls. If you search for those terms, I think you'll find a few threads on those topics.<br><br>
You might try to help your DS understand that it's a mistake to compare himself to anyone else in the class. There will always be students who perform better - and those who do worse. Help him focus on the writing skills that he is able to perform and his incremental improvement. If you think that he has written expression issues, discuss it with his teacher and perhaps suggest some extra assistance may be helpful.
 

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What is going on with your specific child compared to his teacher's exceptations is really important than gender norms.<br><br>
I have a daughter with mild special needs and fine motor issues are part of that for her. I get soooo tired of hearing about how girls have great fine motor skills! I'm sure your son's are far better than hers were at that age.<br><br>
If you want to create lots of fun fine motor activities at home to help, just say so. There are tons of ways to work on fine motor skills without using a pencil.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for the replies. I know each child is unique in his or her development. It had never occurred to me before that DS is just naturally lagging behind in handwriting skills because his brain is not finished wiring itself for that type of activity yet. I'm pretty sure he's still within the typical range of development for fine motor. BUT I'm also wondering about the stress it's causing him. If he has to complete a worksheet he gets overly worried about it not looking neat enough. His handwriting is readable, it's just not very neat and if he goes too fast it does become illegible.<br><br>
I'm going to get some Legos! I know he will love working with those.<br><br>
I do feel sorry for DS because there is SO much attention on writing in school in Kindergarten and he is not naturally good at it. Part of the problem must be a stage. He has started to realize that some kids are better at things than he is and that makes him feel like he's not doing well. I know he will get there in his own time, but he lacks that foresight at the age of six and is unable to put these shortcomings into perspective. The other part of the problem is that I'm not certain his teacher is very good at encouraging the students who have sloppier handwriting as he says that it's typically girls in the class who generally get cool stickers on their papers for a job well done. I don't know if this is actually the reality. But for some reason he perceives it this way.
 

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You might start pointing out things that he IS good at. Every child has strengths and weakness, and it is sad the first time they figure out that some kids are better at some things than they are.<br><br>
I, personally, find it difficult to teach my kids to handle this with grace. There are things that some kids really struggle with, but that they must continue to work at.<br><br>
It's unfortunate that the teacher has opted for public rewards for penmanship. Is your school year about over? May be you guys could practice over the summer, but rather than comparing himself to other children or basing his views on how his teacher evaluates him, you could work with him on very specific goals and letting him decide if he's met them, such as getting the letter to sit right on the line.<br><br>
For my DD with sn, helping her learn to look at what she's doing and help decide if it is an improvement, and then celebrating the effort and the improvement, is a path to letting go of how things compare to her peers.<br><br>
(If you write one sentence down very neatly from a book he likes and have him copy it as neatly as he can, and you do this several times a week over the summer, there's a good chance he'll have neater handwriting compared to his peers at the beginning of next school year because many of the kids will not write at all over the summer. Several will forget which way the letters go)
 

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In addition to legos, does he like mazes? We print out mazes with increasing difficulty from <a href="http://hereandabove.com/maze/mazeorig.form.html" target="_blank">here</a>. They're good for the fine control as well as the visual coordination that's necessary.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Linda on the move</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15471222"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">It's unfortunate that the teacher has opted for public rewards for penmanship. Is your school year about over? May be you guys could practice over the summer, but rather than comparing himself to other children or basing his views on how his teacher evaluates him, you could work with him on very specific goals and letting him decide if he's met them, such as getting the letter to sit right on the line.</div>
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If you do this, consider doing what my 5th grade teacher did. We all wrote out a passage at the beginning of the school year. We drilled handwriting everyday for 15 minutes (imagine doing that nowadays <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">) and then we wrote out the same passage at the end of the year. The differences were amazing.<br><br>
I'm considering spending some time on handwriting with my dd this summer. I think I'll have her write a passage and post it at the beginning of the summer for comparison throughout the summer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yes, thankfully this school year is almost done! His confidence is shaky at times. He learned to ride his bike sans training wheels this spring and that was a great boost to his confidence! I'm hoping as he matures he'll feel better and better about himself.<br><br>
Geofizz thanks for the link to the the maze generator!<br><br>
I'd like to find a way for him to practice handwriting this summer.<br><br>
Linda on the move, I like your idea of working on his penmanship this summer. A couple of months of daily practice should help (hopefully).
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>LightToast</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15468945"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I recently read an article on the internet that said girls develop fine motor skills up to a full SIX YEARS before boys do. Does anyone have information or experience regarding this?<br></div>
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I've noticed this is more because of a lack of fine motor activities for them to do. In the more "normal" school I work in, the boys progress much slower. In the Montessori classrooms I was in, it was about the same between boys and girls from what I remember. This just has to do with there being a lot of activities that focus on this skill that the child can work on.<br><br>
Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Matt, that's interesting. I'm very curious to know what kinds of Montessori activities foster a more even progression of fine motor skills between boys and girls?<br><br>
The school my DS currently attends is a regular 'run of the mill' public school. They do a lot of writing, cut and paste, and coloring. If my son had his druthers he would prefer to work on projects that are primarily 3 dimensional in nature. He likes to build things out of cardboard and other materials.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>LightToast</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15480730"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Matt, that's interesting. I'm very curious to know what kinds of Montessori activities foster a more even progression of fine motor skills between boys and girls?<br></div>
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To answer this, let me briefly describe the Montessori classroom. There are a few main areas:<br><br>
--Practical Life<br>
--Sensorial<br>
--Language<br>
--Math<br>
--Cultural/Science<br>
--Art<br><br>
The students in the class are in a 3 year age group. In this instance, they are ages 3-6; so there is a wide variety to the materials and activities that can be done. When a 3 year old comes in, they tend to have an interest in the practical life area. This is filled with activities to help the child learn to care for himself or herself. With this come many motor activities.<br><br>
What I notice is a huge difference is Montessori is the sequence it takes. You mentioned cutting, pasting, etc., but what if the child isn't really ready to cut yet? How do we get the muscles ready for that?<br><br>
One of the first activities is something that most adults would find boring, but children take a big interest in. It's bean feeling. It's a bowl with beans in it (Or corn, or ...whatever). It's a bowl with beans in it. The child uses his or her hands and grabs them, picks them up, lets them roll through the fingers, etc. We're starting with the basics here...just a normal grasping action.<br><br>
From there, we move to transferring beans with one hand from one bowl to the other. Then they can transfer things that are more easily grabbed one at a time with a few fingers, such as small marbles or cherries with a stem. This sets the beginning stages of the 3 finger pencil grip.<br><br>
There are other activities as well in the practical life area that help with that. They can move into tonging, clothesline, scooping, and tweezing activities.<br><br>
The rest of the classroom is also designed with fine motor and gross motor in mind. The sensorial materials encourage the child to carry them carefully and they are just the right size to be a little difficult to carry around and organize. The maps are the same way, with the child having to focus their movement as they carry them, but also have the knobs to the pieces the perfect size to use the pencil grip with the three fingers.<br><br>
Take, for example, this sensorial material:<br><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fgp%2Fproduct%2FB003KWKT3S%3Fie%3DUTF8%26tag%3Dmonteblog-20%26linkCode%3Das2%26camp%3D1789%26creative%3D390957%26creativeASIN%3DB003KWKT3S" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...SIN=B003KWKT3S</a><br><br>
This is actually one of the first materials I show a child who seems a little apprehensive in the classroom. Each one has 10 cylinders in it and sort of mixes something the child is already familiar with (like a puzzle) with something that intrigues them since it's quite different. Notice the way the knobs are to pick them up. I remember one student who just had the "grab the pencil" thing going on. I carried one of the cylinder blocks over and asked her to do it. She did it really quickly. In the middle of it, I showed her the pincher grip she was using by doing it in the air. She did it a few times in the air and I slipped her pencil into her fingers while she was doing it and she used it from then on. The pencil grip didn't come from practicing with a pencil...it came from all the other activities that the child found an interest in.<br><br>
From there, we don't really have a problem with pencil grip as much as we do control of the pencil and pencil pressure. For that, we use this:<br><br><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fgp%2Fproduct%2FB001RJYAK4%3Fie%3DUTF8%26tag%3Dmonteblog-20%26linkCode%3Das2%26camp%3D1789%26creative%3D390957%26creativeASIN%3DB001RJYAK4" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...SIN=B001RJYAK4</a><br><br>
The child can trace the shapes then there are a series of things they can do with it with designs and shading. It helps control the pencil and they learn about not pressing too hard on it.
 

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One of my 3 y.o.'s favourite activities at Montessori was "pinning out" - using a push pin or a stylus with a sharp end to poke holes around the outline of a shape. You can use some thick felt, a carpet remnant or craft mat underneath the paper to protect your table. Once they've "pinned" around the outline, they can separate the shape from the rest of the paper.
 
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