Today, I’m sharing some of my thoughts and ideas about fine motor experiences in kindergarten. Over the last several years, one of the hot topics in early childhood education has been the increasing number of children entering school without age-appropriate fine motor skills. Studies such as this one have linked fine motor skills with academic achievement and have found that students with better fine motor skills in kindergarten had higher rates of academic growth through middle school.
Although I’m not an occupational therapist or fine motor expert, I began my teaching career as a special education teacher and several of my students had motor delays. Additionally, my younger daughter was diagnosed with mild dystonia that impacts her motor skills and speech. She’s doing very well and is currently back on-level with her peers, but her teachers, her neurologist, and my husband and I are continually monitoring her. Having a child with a motor delay – even a mild one – is really eye-opening and it’s strengthened my passion for ensuring that all children have opportunities for fun and engaging fine motor experiences!
While we hope that our students are having adequate fine motor experiences at home through play and daily tasks, many of them will still enter kindergarten with a fine motor delay. A great deal of fine motor strength comes from normal and routine daily tasks, such as buttoning, coloring, and playing with toys. It also might be necessary for you to add some activities with the explicit purpose of fine motor work. Fortunately, I have lots of ideas for integrating fine motor work into your daily classroom routine and I’m sharing them with you today!
When to Integrate Fine Motor Work