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22Jun

The right age to wield the Pencil

Am I ready to write?
Am I ready to write?


Children and teachers are back in school as the academic year has commenced. Those tiny tots who used to play and have fun in nursery or pre-school and those who have enrolled in LKG or P1, start their academic journey. For some it is a smooth journey and for some it is tortuous.

Learning how to hold the pencil and making precise patterns on the paper that the alphabet are is one of the first steps of their academic journey. Learning to hold the pencil requires motor skills, coordination between the mind and the muscles of the hand. Many a mother has suffered extreme anxiety as some children struggle with the task of holding the pencil. They take a lot longer to grasp the instrument and draw lines that are straight, round, curvy and crooked. Many schools start with teaching them strokes before the students are asked to write the alphabet.

For those mothers who get very anxious when their children do not keep up with the others in the class, there is lot of anxiety. As soon as those children who do not fall into average group in the class, the young minds suddenly find themselves the target of sustained pressure – in the school and at home. There are horror tales of mothers spanking children, burning with candles and verbal lashing. If only the mothers were aware about how the kids pick up writing skills, many children will have a far more relaxed and enjoyable time learning the vital skill. The question is: what is the normal age by which a child learns how to write.

Now, we benchmark a child’s development to the standards that are recommended by experts. Many of these standards are averages arrived at by considering a large group. However, when your child struggles to write, you forget the meaning of the term “average”.

The Cambridge dictionary defines the word average as “the result you get by adding two or more amounts together and dividing the total by the number of amounts:

The average of the three numbers 7, 12, and 20 is 13, because the total of 7, 12, and 20 is 39, and 39 divided by 3 is 13.”

Now consider this example. The average is 13 but there is a lot of gap between 7 and 20. Similarly, when milestones are worked out, they include a set of students who include all kinds of learners, fast and slow. Another key factor to note is that not all development factors are uniform in all the children. Some children can perform certain tasks very early and some tasks very late. And, excluding a few who show remarkable talent very early, the prodigies, most others do not seem to suffer in later life by not conforming to the pattern among the existing group of students in the class. For example, if a child gets the hang of writing in class 1, it is by no means an indication that she will struggle academically later in life.

There are some students who may have developments challenges due to mental or physical factors and these are excluded from these conclusions.

Mothers will not become anxious and pass on that anxiety to their children and help develop a more positive attitude towards studies.

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