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  • Hindi Pa Nagsusulat? Do This To Teach Your Preschooler How To Write Well

    Preschool teacher and mom shares writing techniques plus 4 effective DIY learning materials parents can build from scratch.
    by Grace Bautista .
Hindi Pa Nagsusulat? Do This To Teach Your Preschooler How To Write Well
PHOTO BY SHUTTERSTOCK
  • One of the most common queries in our Facebook Community, Smart Parenting Village, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when schools closed and learning shifted to remote modalities is: “How do I start teaching my young child at home?”

    Parents are concerned their children are missing important learning milestones, so they begin teaching their children at home despite feeling ill-equipped to do so. These are the reasons mom and preschool teacher, Jojie Jugo-Velasco, volunteered to share her expertise with parents in the Smart Parenting community.

    Teacher Jojie graduated with a bachelor's degree in behavioral sciences, and took teaching units in Mirriam College Graduate School. She was a preschool teacher for 16 years at the Integrated School in Marikina City handling toddlers, junior nursery, senior nursery and kindergarten classes before moving to New York with her family in 2018. In 2020, because of the pandemic, she opted to homeschool her bunso, Julio, rather than send him to face-to-face school in the middle of a raging pandemic. Julio was then almost four years old.

    She made her own learning materials to teach him, and, through a Zoom conversation with Smart Parenting, she shared these materials, how to use them, plus some tips on teaching your preschooler how to write well.

    Tips to remember when teaching a preschooler how to write

    Complement action with words

    When doing writing exercises, Teacher Jojie says the parent should put their hand over the child’s hand and guide the child to write the first few lines while saying the direction for each line being drawn. For example, you can say, “Up, down,” while drawing each line.

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    Go for one writing direction at a time

    When your child is comfortable writing vertical lines, you could create a tracing sheet for horizontal lines, and then slanting lines, and then curved lines. 

    Use stress ball or playdough to improve grip

    When teaching your child to write, Teacher Jojie says it is important to see if they can already grip the writing instrument correctly before letting them write. If your child could not grip writing instruments yet, give your child some games or exercises to improve their fine motor skills, for example, squeezing a stress ball or playing with playdough. A pencil grip may also help your child learn to hold a pencil.

    DIY learning materials for preschoolers

    Learning board

    Teacher Jojie’s family lives in a small house so she did not want to stick learning materials on the wall. For this reason, she devised this foldaway learning board which shows the days of the week, the weather, a calendar for counting, shapes and colors, etc. She made this out of cardboard, colored paper and printables she searched on the internet. She used clear contact paper to cover the materials (only because there is no plastic cover in New York). Every day, she would let Julio go through the exercises on the board.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF JOJIE JUGO-VELASCO
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    Alphabet chart

    Associating the correct sounds to the letters of the alphabet is an essential skill for reading readiness. Teacher Jojie printed this alphabet chart and covered it so it would last long. She says there is a wealth of printable charts that parents could choose from online, but she has a tip for choosing a good one: she looks at the pictures for the letter I and the letter X. She says the letter I should have the short sound like in igloo instead of a long ‘i’ sound like in ice cream. For letter X, she prefers pictures that have X as the ending sound so that it is more emphasized. 

    PHOTO COURTESY OF JOJIE JUGO-VELASCO

    Large letter tracing cards

    These tracing cards could be used by tracing their finger over the letter, using a marker to write over the letters, or fashioning play dough to create the shape of the letter. Teacher Jojie covered the cards so she could easily wipe them clean whether they use markers of play dough to write the letters.

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    PHOTO COURTESY OF JOJIE JUGO-VELASCO

    Tracing sheet

    Instead of a writing book or printable worksheet, Teacher Jojie recommends making a tracing sheet using manila paper. Fold the manila paper horizontally to create creases to guide your writing. With a wide tip yellow marker, write horizontal lines for your child to trace. Put a green dot (which means go) on top of the horizontal line and a red dot (which means stop) at the bottom of the line. Teacher Jojie uses wide tip markers so it will not be difficult for a child to stay within the lines.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF JOJIE JUGO-VELASCO
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    Got DIY learning materials and writing tips to share? Send them to smartparenting@summitmedia.com.ph.

    Teacher Jojie Jugo-Velasco taught preschool in Marikina for 16 years before moving to New York with her family. Now she is a stay-at-home mom who fully supports her husband's nursing career while raising her two boys who are nine and five years old.

    Grace Bautista is a homeschooling mom who taught her first two children (now in high school and grade school) how to read, and, inspired by Teacher Jojie’s tips, is now more intentional in preparing her 3-year-old bunso to learn to read and write.

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